Dreaming of a white tornado

An interesting weather event here in Cleveland today.

I am in Mentor Ohio actually 20 miles east of cleveland. I wake around 10:30 to a downpour and thunder on Jan 12. Crazy as that is things get more crazy when the sirens begin. Sirens that I assume are to signify a tornado warning? Or are the sirens just for a general warning.

I quickly run to a computer and check the SPC and the radar and see that a pretty nasty storm is running over the area. The cloud base is extremely low, but we get lake (erie) effect clouds that hang pretty low on a regular basis. The wind was pretty serious for a while but has calmed down.

What do the sirens sounded during a storm officially mean?

I see no active warning Mesoscale disussion or other activity on the radar. The storm is pretty nasty to be sure, but I would be surprised if it was tornadic.

Perhaps Ijust slept through the winter tornado of northern Ohio.
The purpose of your local warning sirens could be unique to your area. It would be a good idea to contact your local Emergency Management Department if you have questions :wink:

Well, just basing my observations from the available data, that storm just looked "garden variety". The returns were only 50-55DBz at best, and nothing really interesting on the velocity image (standard velocity, I don't have a storm relative image for that time frame). Also, no warnings or even any marine statements out... My guess is that today was the grand tour of the Emergency Management Center, and one of the tourists pressed the button...
Also a possiblility is lightning set one of the sirens off. That is a common problem with certain systems. A power surge can trip an alarm and it sounds. I work with our DEM as a member of our emergency service and we wont even test the sirens if there is any kind of weather in the area but we have had sirens go off due to lightning a number of times. one way to tell (at least in our area) is if we sound the sirens we also set of the Emergency broadcast System on radio and tv so if you dont hear that with the sirens then its a bet its a false sounding.