SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — People in the town of Aurora should be extra weather aware for the Memorial Day weekend according to the Brookings County Emergency Manager. 

That’s because the town of just over 1,000 people has been without a weather siren since an old city building was condemned and torn down more than a month ago. Aurora Mayor Josh Jones told KELOLAND News the city’s one siren, which was installed atop the building that was torn down, should be operational next week after being installed atop a newly installed power pole. 

“People need to stay weather alert and listen to things like KELOLAND-TV and listen to the local radios,” Brookings County Emergency Manager Bob Hill said. “The Brookings County website has a weather notification service where we send out a text and it also automatically feeds into Facebook and Twitter.” 

Jones said the city looked into buying a brand new weather siren, but the costs were in the thousands of dollars. Jones also said the siren the city had still worked, but just needed to be reinstalled. 

Weather sirens are designed to alert people who are outside. In Brookings County, tests of weather sirens happens at 1 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month as long as temperatures are above 32 degrees.

Hill said the reinstalled siren will carry the same coverage range as atop the building that was torn down. The Brookings County commission also approved the county to cover one-third of the total cost to reinstall the siren. 

“The county has been known to pay up to one-third of the cost of the installation of a new siren,” Hill said. “Brookings County, we might be based in the city of Brookings but we take care of all the citizens throughout Brookings County.” 

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Hill said new larger tornado sirens cost around $24,000 but said there’s ways to find sirens in the $10,000 range as well. 

“They’re not cheap by any stretch of the imagination,” Hill said. “It is important that people stay weather alert. I can’t say that enough. Help your neighbor out if you know someone that doesn’t have access to social media or some sort of notification.” 

The Federal Emergency Management Association has a number of case studies on tornado sirens working.

“Tested monthly, the tornado sirens are designed to be an early warning device primarily for persons who are outside, away from television or radio,” states FEMA case study from a April 2011 tornado in rural Alabama.

Hill said there’s more than 300 Brookings County residents signed up for the weather alerts through the county. He said it’s up to each community whether or not to invest into weather sirens and to determine how many. 

“At one time one siren would have been enough. Sooner or later they’re gonna need a second siren because they’ve had some development,” Hill said. “When it comes to severe weather you just don’t know what’s going to pop up.”