Why tornado sirens never sounded during destructive weekend storm

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The storm that moved into Memphis on Saturday night caused the third worst power outage in the city's history.

While WMC Action News 5 meteorologists were on air updating you to all the storm's developments, many Memphians wonder why the National Weather Service (NWS) only issued a severe thunderstorm warning.

NWS said it never issued a tornado warning or watch, because the storm did not bring with it tornadic threats. Likewise, that's why the tornado sirens in your neighborhood did not sound.

"People don't take severe thunderstorm warnings as serious as they take tornado warnings," NWS meteorologist Tom Salem said. "Yet severe thunderstorm warnings, as we see in this event, can do just as much damage if not more damage than the tornado."

Winds from Saturday's storm reached up to 100 miles per hour, which is as strong as an EF-1 tornado.

Those strong winds combined with the rain from the storm toppled trees and snapped power lines, causing the third worst power outage in Bluff City history.

NWS issued two severe thunderstorm warnings Saturday.

"The warnings are meant to be taken seriously," Salem said.

The WMC Action News 5 First Alert Weather Team was on air throughout the storm. In fact, the team alerted the Mid-South to the potential for Saturday storms days before they hit.

"We tried to let everyone know there was a threat for severe weather that could produce damaging winds, and as that line pushed through the Mid-South that's exactly what happened," meteorologist Brittany Bryant said. "When we tell you it's a First Alert Weather Day and there is a chance for damaging wind gusts, you just need to take it seriously."

Remember another great way to keep updated with any weather headed your way is to download the WMC Action News 5 weather app. It's free for Android and Apple users.

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