Why Emergency Sirens Weren’t Activated For Cheyenne Landspout
A Wednesday evening landspout in the Cheyenne airport area did not cause any known damage or injuries.
You can see a video of the landspout below. It's courtesy of Amber Hollibaugh via Facebook
The landspout did prompt quite a few questions on local social media pages as to why the Laramie County emergency sirens were not activated, especially since the emergency siren system at F.E. Warren Air Force Base was reportedly activated.
Townsquare Media put the question to Cheyenne/ Laramie County Emergency Management Director Jeanine West.
She gave us the following statement:
"The FE Warren siren is a separate siren from our system that is activated from another state based on their interpretation of the radar indicated weather. We have no say in when they set it off.
Locally, the sirens are activated in specific areas only where a tornado warning is issued by NWS; they base their knowledge on radar indication or from local spotters. For landspouts we, unfortunately, do not have an alert system for due to the “unknowns” of where they will pop up, much like a “dustnado or dirt devil”. Landspouts don’t typically cause any damage and we see higher winds than what they produce on a normal winter day. IF it is severe enough and is spotted then we could set of the sirens. The one last night was, from what we could tell, on the portion of the airport where the runway construction is. Since it popped up in a dirt area it kicked up A LOT of dirt which made it look bigger than it actually was. EMA staff drove around the area and contacted Guard EM to ensure this did not cause any damage; there was no damage on or off the base."
The National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration says that while a landspout is classified as a tornado, it is different than a typical "supercell" tornado:
A landspout is a tornado with a narrow, rope-like condensation funnel that forms while the thunderstorm cloud is still growing and there is no rotating updraft - the spinning motion originates near the ground."
Cheyenne-based meteorologist Don Day Jr. told Townsquare Media landspouts are typically weaker than supercell tornadoes:
"A land spout is a weak tornado, poorly formed, they are common in spring especially. They can cause strong wind gusts but they don’t last long on the ground, so for the most part not the concern a well formed tornado can cause."
Day is the founder and President of Dayweather Inc.
May 24 Landspout Spirals Over Cheyenne