Severe weather pounded Texoma on Wednesday night, with tornado warnings issued for Throckmorton, Archer and Wichita Counties.  Some Wichita Falls residents have contacted the city, concerned that sirens were not sounded in Wichita Falls after the National Weather Service issued the Tornado Warning.

Wichita Falls Fire Chief Jon Reese issued the following statement:

The City of Wichita Falls Emergency Operations Plan has a predetermined policy that the (Outdoor) Emergency Notification Sirens within the City Limits of Wichita Falls will be sounded when any of the following three actions occur:

1. City experiences sustained winds of 58 mph for 3 minutes or more
2. A confirmed tornado is within the city limits.
3. A confirmed tornado is immediately approaching the city limits.

Storms approaching Wichita County on May 6, 2015
Photo by: Mike Hendren-Townsquare Media

The City of Wichita Falls also has an Emergency Management Official who partners with a local meteorologist to monitor radar data and information from the National Weather Service.  In addition, the city’s Emergency Management Staff utilizes local Amateur Radio Emergency Services Weather Spotters who take positions around the area and give on-the-scene reports to city officials and the National Weather Service.  If you have a scanner you can monitor the spotter traffic directly.  A list of storm spotter scanner frequencies can be found here.

Many Wichita Falls residents have previously signed up for the ‘Code Red’ Emergency Notification System.  That system is being replaced at the end of May with a new notification system called NIXLE.  Residents are urged to sign up for the new system by May 31st.  The service is free.

To sign up for NIXLE using a smart phone, text your zip code to 888777. This will automatically register you to receive free Emergency Alerts.  If you do not have a cell phone go to nixle.com to register or contact the City’s Public Information Office at 761-7401 for registration information.