Burnside Mayor Robert Lawson acknowledges the threat tornadoes pose to his community: “I had one in front of my house.
The EF-1 twister that landed in South Pulaski last Friday (and yes, came dangerously close to Mayor Lawson’s residence) was a surprise, without the area’s sirens going off – but the reality is that the people of Burnside might not even have heard them if they had. For several months now, following the December storms that caused massive destruction in western Kentucky, the city of Burnside has made it a priority to install a new tornado siren closer to the heart of the city. ; the nearest is across the river in Bronston, Lawson noted.
“We’re going to have one,” the mayor said. “The city council approved it. We try to find one as cheap as possible.
The plan was to order a new one, which would have been expensive; however, at the Pulaski County Tax Court meeting on April 12, magistrates approved the purchase of five sirens to replace four that are no longer functioning and provide a new location in the county. Burnside will benefit, and Lawson said the court could likely find a refurbished one for around $10,000. At the court meeting, it was stated that the mermaid will have a warranty.
There were concerns as to why the sirens didn’t go off – the area was under a tornado watch on Friday, but the threat level had never been raised to “warning” even though there were signs that a dangerous storm was on its way.
“I was doing my (physiotherapy) in the back room watching the Channel 27 news, and (the weatherman) kept saying, ‘Why isn’t Jackson (where the National Weather Service Office is) giving- There’s no report of the storm moving from Monticello to Somerset, it’s the worst storm in the state of Kentucky right now, ‘but they never issued a warning,’ Lawson said. This siren isn’t worth two cents if someone doesn’t trigger it.”
The National Weather Service investigation team – in conjunction with the Bronston, Burnside and Haynes Knob fire departments – confirmed that the tornado touched down at approximately 1:49 p.m. Friday on Hardwick Road in Bronston and touched moved northeast just over three miles at a path width of about 100 yards before finally breaking just before 2 p.m. near Antioch Bend.
In addition to numerous instances of tree damage, the tornado caused the overturning of two mobile homes on Hardwick Road as well as other damage to Lake Cumberland Speedway and several structures in the Antioch community.
Another storm came later that day, and Burnside police drove through town on their loudspeakers announcing that people should take shelter as a precaution, Lawson noted.
Burnside Fire Chief James Martin said site investigators came on Wednesday. The Burnside fire station on East French Avenue and the water reservoir on Antioch Tower Road are the sites being considered, he noted.
Martin described the siren as a spinning federal signal. He said they should install it in about two weeks.
“We’re kind of at the mercy of the installers right now,” he said, noting that the process was slowed down “because there were so many at once” – about “five or six” counties in all that have ordered new sirens lately.