Tornado sirens get upgrade in St. Paul

The city of St. Paul is retooling its tornado warning system with state-of-the-art tornado sirens.

The city plans will upgrade equipment by replacing 36 mechanical sirens with and install one additional siren. Crews are also relocating tornado siren poles from the top of buildings to the ground to make them accessible for repairs and keep them off private property.

Cost of the project comes to about $1.3 million and will be paid for with city funds and federal grants.

St. Paul's Director of Emergency Management Rick Larkin said the new sirens will create a safer, more responsive warning system. He said it was difficult to get replacement parts for older parts of the system, which dates back to the early 1950s.

"We can't even get our computer to replace the one that we had been using," Larkin said. "Definitely it's time to upgrade a 50-year leap in technology that we've made."

"If there is some kind of a problem with one of the sirens it'll actually send a signal back to the control center and it'll say the motor is not functioning or we lost power or the radio signal is offline, or whatever the case might be," Larkin said.

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