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Siren MapThere are 27 outdoor warning sirens located in parks throughout Fayette County. If there is a tornado warning or community emergency, the sirens will play a loud wailing sound. In the event of a severe thunderstorm watch or warning, a tornado watch or other emergencies, the sirens also serve as public address systems that can be used to play voice messages about the current watch, warning or emergency.

The purpose of these sirens is to inform citizens who may be outdoors in a park that there is a weather watch, warning or emergency situation.

These sirens ARE NOT designed nor intended to notify persons inside homes or office buildings of an emergency situation.

If you are in an area near a siren and hear it go off or announce a weather watch or warning, you should seek shelter indoors immediately. Many parks and golf courses have designated storm shelters.

Once inside, you should listen to a local radio or television station for emergency information. Information will also be distributed via the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s website at and the city’s primary Facebook and Twitter accounts. Information will also be broadcast via the government’s low power AM radio stations which operate at 1620 AM.

Severe weather information will also be broadcast on local NOAA weather radios. It is strongly recommended that you have a working, battery-operated NOAA weather radio in your home. If you spend much time outdoors, a portable battery-operated NOAA weather radio is good to have with you. Not much bigger than a cell phone, these radios can alert you to dangerous developing weather conditions before it is too late to reach safe shelter.

The outdoor warning sirens are tested the first Wednesday of every month. They will sound at either 11:40 a.m. or 7:10 p.m. Sometimes the siren system is “quiet tested” which means that they are tested without any siren wail or announcement.

Lexington’s outdoor emergency sirens are activated between 6:00 a.m. and midnight EXCEPT for tornado warnings - tornado warnings are activated at all times of the day or night. The sirens are activated for the following situations:

  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning
  • Tornado Watch or Tornado Warning
  • A chemical or community emergency
  • Other emergency situations

Click on the audio files below to hear the different siren tones:

The wailing sound of the siren is much like that of a police car, fire truck or other emergency vehicle only much, much louder. The wailing tone of the siren can be heard outdoors about one-half mile away from the siren site, depending on weather conditions. The siren’s public address system can be heard for approximately one-quarter mile from the siren site, again depending on weather conditions.

REMEMBER, the purpose of these sirens is to inform the members of the public who may be outdoors in a park that there is a weather watch, warning or emergency situation. These sirens ARE NOT designed nor intended to notify persons inside homes, office buildings of an emergency situation.

A Severe Thunderstor Warning is issued when severe thunderstorms are occurring or imminent in the warning area. Severe thunderstorms are defined as follows: Winds of 58 mph or higher AND/OR hail one inch in diameter or larger.

A Tornado Watch is issued when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. It does not mean that they will occur. It only means they are possible.

A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado has been spotted or Doppler radar indicates a severe thunderstorm with circulation that could form a tornado.  When a tornado warning is issued, seek safe shelter immediately!

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions

National Weather Service:
Lexington Division of Emergency Management

Last updated: 4/30/2013 1:18:01 PM