Weather service trying to determine what went wrong


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Tyler Reardon

PADUCAH, Ky. - Outdoor sirens, weather radios, and weather call.  Those are all things we depend on to stay safe during severe weather events and Thursday night was certainly no exception.  But many of those life saving devices didn't work, or didn't work properly.

Local 6 found out why.

A lot of bad things happened at the National Weather Service.

A major communication line was accidentally cut just a few miles down the road and that caused serious problems.  Many want to know why they didn't have a backup. They do and it is a satellite dish they acquired during the winter storm of 2009 and it allows the National Weather Service to not only receive messages, but send them if a communication line is broken.  There were still problems and about the time they thought they had everything fixed, a major computer crashed.

Beverly Poole with the National Weather Service said an underground copper cable was cut.

"We were just ready to put out the first warning for the western area of our viewing area," Poole said.

Just after 10 a.m. Thursday morning, some weather radios in Illinois, Missouri and Indiana didn't sound during severe weather.  It took eight hours and ten minutes to fix the line, but then trouble struck again.

"The database somehow became corrupted, then after a while it just collapsed," Poole said.

Basically, the computer stopped working.  That caused Western Kentucky weather radios to stay silent when they should've gone off Friday night.  As if that's not enough to worry about, some outdoor alert sirens also didn't sound.
Like the one right beside John Harrell's house in Calvert City. He said Thursday night, it never went off.

"It is loud, especially right here under it," Harrell said.

He's armed with a mini weather radio that he kept on all night.  His worked.

Luckily, he and others survived last night's storms, but Poole knows we're in the spring storm season and wants to be ready.

"That's our goal to find out what's going on and to get it fixed," Poole said.

If it had not been for the satellite or if some disaster wiped the Paducah N.W.S. office out of commission, Poole said people in the Louisville, Kentucky or Springfield, Missouri office could take over.

Poole said this is a prime example of why we all need multiple alerts. We shouldn't rely solely on weather radios or outdoor sirens.  When severe weather is on it's way, we should be armed with as many life saving alerts as possible.
Local 6 also had complaints from people about outdoor sirens not going off. The Graves County Emergency Management Director says a siren in Symsonia didn't go off.  He's trying to determine what went wrong.

The Marshall County Emergency Management Director said she's only heard rumors of one Calvert City siren not working.