Sirens up for start of hurricane season - - Jackson, MS

Sirens up for start of hurricane season

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By Marsha Thompson - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Tuesday marked the official start date of the Atlantic hurricane season.

It's expected to be a busy one. Hurricane's spawn tornadoes. Hinds County's aging tornadoes sirens are slowly being replaced in areas were citizens were left vulnerable to advance notice.

In November of 2006 WLBT exposed widespread disrepair and widespread breakdown of Hinds County's tornado warning system. A system used for civil defense. Some sirens 50 years old when tornadoes were beating down the hatch. Citizens were left unprotected with no warning from broken sirens.

Tuesday marked a so called changing of the guard at one the sites. A 25-year-old siren replaced with a state of the art replacement. Hinds supervisors sought out grant money and are now replacing all 57 antiquated sirens.

"The money will be in the bank after today, after we go and sign all of the necessary papers. That will purchase 21 additional sirens," said District 1 Supervisor Robert Graham.

While all appeared rosy on the surface, two supervisors are in disagreement over an expensive maintenance agreement for the old sirens. Supervisor Phil Fisher calls the $144 thousand  contract a wasted expenditure of tax payers dollars. Graham had little to say, "I'm really not going to talk or discuss anything about that, what he feels like. That is his prerogative."

Fisher also questions why a new siren was placed right next to the older working siren near the coliseum. We asked Graham about this and his reply was, "According to the mitigation grant that we received, these new sirens were location specific."

March 11 a lighting strike took the sirens out again. The new ones have solar panels that will keep them operational. They also are equipped with electronic speakers in the event of an "all hazard" emergency. 

Meanwhile, Hinds County supervisors said a second wave of protection is on the horizon.  They have applied for a grant that will provide weather radio's to those in need and in outlying portions of Hinds County that could be vulnerable.

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