Warning system was at its best during recent severe weather

Published 5:07 pm Friday, April 19, 2019


Throughout the severe weather of April 13, one government service did its job well.

CodeRed, the automated telephone and text alert system instituted several years ago by Warren County and the city of Vicksburg, kept its subscribers informed about severe thunderstorms and tornadoes approaching our area that helped many seek shelter from the storms.

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The service was installed because the area lacked an adequate and accurate storm warning system.

At one time — and still today — many cities and counties relied on “tornado sirens;” loud blaring Klaxons capable, officials hoped, of sounding a loud, wailing alert notifying residents that either a tornado had been spotted in the area or conditions were right to form a twister. But as buildings became more soundproof, and more people moved into rural areas out of range of the sirens, their effectiveness diminished.

Television and radio soon took over the job of warning residents, but not everyone can be by a TV or a radio while they’re at work, or if they are in a store or walking in the park. But in this day and age, everyone has a cell phone of some type.

That’s what makes CodeRed a valuable asset, especially for Warren County and Vicksburg residents.


Mississippi is part of a 6-state section of the south called the “Dixie Alley” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dixie Alley’s peak period for tornados is between October and November, but as we learned last weekend, tornadoes don’t go by calendars, and they’re not like hurricanes that you can observe and plot and casually make a decision whether to leave the area.

Tornadoes can drop from the sky at any moment and any place. The time for warning is short and requires immediate action.

Warning sirens can’t provide that quick warning, and Warren County doesn’t have tornado sirens.

Subscribing to CodeRed and/or, if you have a smart phone, signing on to one of the many weather apps available for cell phones and computers makes good sense. Severe storms are becoming commonplace in our area, and any storm that passes over Warren County is capable of spawning a tornado.

If you are not a subscriber to CodeRed, go to the city of Vicksburg’s website at www.vicksburg.org, or the Warren County website at co.warren.ms.us and go to the county Emergency Management Agency website and sign up.