Tornado sirens sounded Sunday night in Brentwood, but it turns out there was never a tornado warning. City officials say the problem is with a private company that monitors approaching weather.
There was a severe thunderstorm watch for the area at the time, but Brentwood officials say the Weather Sentry software they use showed a cone on the radar and detected rotation in the clouds.
"That weather service indicted that there was possibly a tornado heading in the direction of Brentwood that was four or five miles outside the city of Brentwood," said Assistant Police Chief Tommy Walsh.
Based on that information, dispatchers sounded the alarm.
"There was no equipment malfunction. Actually, the equipment worked exactly as it was supposed to work. The sirens went off as it was designed," Walsh said.
Brentwood realtor Vivian Armstrong didn't think twice when she heard the tornado sirens blaring through her neighborhood.
"The weather was kicking up pretty bad, and the alarm went off, so I brought everyone from upstairs down to the downstairs level," Armstrong said.
Her family took cover only to find out there was no tornado approaching at all.
"As far as it being a mistake, no, I'm still thankful someone was trying to do what they thought was best," Armstrong said.
Many residents Channel 4 found Monday say they are accustomed to hearing the tornado sirens tested on the first Saturday each month. And with the devastation and destruction tornadoes caused Sunday in other states, they say they had no problem with the sirens being inadvertently activated.
"I'd like to think that we'll give them all a high priority when they go off. But I know my nature, and much of human nature, that after a while, we get to go, 'It's just another one of those,'" said Brentwood resident Phill Bennett.
City officials say that's certainly not the intention.
"The last thing we want to do is create an environment where the citizens are not paying attention when the sirens go off. We want them to be paying attention and go to their safe place," Walsh said.
Channel 4 News attempted to contact the private company for comment, but a representative has not returned a phone call.
Brentwood police say they talked with the company and they said they use the same Doppler radar as the National Weather Service. They say they saw some rotation on the radar, so that's why they believed there could have been possible tornadic activity.
There was no glitch in any software on the private company's end or on the city's end.
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