March 27-31 is Severe Weather Week in Iowa











The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office and Sioux County Emergency Management will be using Severe Weather Week, March 27-31, to test storm sirens in our communities.

On Wednesday, March 29, at 10:00 a.m., storm sirens will be sounded in all communities in Sioux County. Government agencies, schools, businesses, and families are all encouraged to prepare for severe weather by having a plan of where to seek shelter and ways of monitoring weather and receiving warnings.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office offers the NIXLE program, where you can sign up to receive real time weather alerts from the National Weather Service. NIXLE is also used by Sioux County Dispatchers to put out public safety information to keep the public notified of hazardous situations. NIXLE messages can be sent to your email or to your phone via text message. For more information go to  and find the NIXLE tab.

Below are some common questions and answers regarding sirens and how you should react when you hear them:

  1. What does it mean when I hear the outdoor warning sirens?
    In short, it means that something life-threatening is happening and you should go indoors and get more information.                   In Sioux County, sirens will be sounded when your community is in a tornado warning, or winds predicted to be more than 80mph.  Storm spotters may also request sirens be activated for other hazardous conditions which they feel are life threatening.
  1. What should I do when I hear the outdoor warning sirens?
    When the sirens are heard, go inside and tune to local media to get more information.
  2. Why can’t I hear the outdoor warning sirens in my house?
    Sirens are an outdoor warning system designed only to alert those who are outside that something dangerous is approaching.
  3. How can I get alerts when I’m at work or in my house?
    For alerts indoors, every home and business should have a NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards. NOAA Weather Radio is like a smoke detector for severe weather, and it can wake you up when a warning is issued for your area so you can take appropriate action.  You may also subscribe to NIXLE through the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office website.
  4. When are outdoor warning sirens tested?
    Sirens are tested according to local community or state policies.  In Sioux County, sirens are tested on the first Friday of the month, starting in April and ending in September.  They are also tested during Severe Weather Week.
  5. Why don’t the outdoor warning sirens sound an all-clear signal?
    People should be indoors and monitoring local media for updates on the storm.
  6. Why are the outdoor warning sirens sometimes sounded for hail and wind?
    When thunderstorm winds exceed 70 mph, trees can be uprooted or snapped. Hail that is golf ball sized or larger can break windows. Both of these things pose a direct risk to life if people are caught outdoors.  An increasing number of communities (including Sioux County) are incorporating these threats into their outdoor warning siren policies.
  7. Will the outdoor warning sirens warn me of every dangerous storm?
    The safest approach is to be proactive and use all of the information available to protect yourself and your family from threatening weather. Nothing can replace common sense. If a storm is approaching, the lightning alone is a threat. Sirens are only one part of a warning system that includes preparation, NOAA Weather Radio, and local media.
  8. Who activates the outdoor warning sirens?
    Sirens are activated from the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.  Sirens may also be manually set off by weather spotters in each community.
  9. Where can I get more information?
    Check out these resources: