Storm season has started and Hillsboro city officials want to remind residents where to go should the need arise.
“We have five designated storm shelters on our official list,” City Administrator Larry Paine said. “If you do not have a basement or other safe place to go in the case of a tornado warning, you could go to one of these locations.”
Basement shelters are available at Hillsboro Dental Care at 119 E. Grand, Zion Lutheran Church at 106 N. Lincoln, Trinity Mennonite Church at 211 S. Elm, Parkview Mennonite Church at 610 S. Main, and in the Scout House in Memorial Park.
Paine said city officials have the keys to the shelters listed and will make sure they are open, even if bad weather comes after normal business hours.
Paine also said there are certain criteria weather watch officials follow in regards to sounding the tornado warning sirens.
Assistant Chief of Police and local weather-watch official Jessey Hiebert said tornado sirens will sound in Hillsboro when two of the following three criteria are met: 1) conditions are favorable for tornadoes as indicated by national weather services, 2) radar indicates a tornado, or 3) weather watchers have spotted a tornado.
“The only exception to that rule is if we have extreme straight-line winds that might cause tornado type damage,” Hiebert said. “We do not sound the sirens for severe thunderstorms, but if there are F1 category winds or greater that could cause damage, then we will activate the warning system.”
The tornado siren will sound with a continued up and down wailing until the danger has passed.
“Many of our sirens have battery backup so if we lose power, the sirens should still sound,” Paine said. “It would be a good idea to wait until the siren has stopped before going outside.”
Paine said the tornado sirens in Hillsboro are considered outside warning devices. They are not designed for indoor warning so those inside buildings may not hear the sirens but should depend on other warning methods such as radio or television broadcasts.
If case of an emergency, residents may to call 911 for police, fire, and ambulance. Non-emergency calls go to (620) 947-3440 (police) and (620) 382-2144 (sheriff).