Severe Weather

Licking County Emergency Management Agency

Click Here to listen to an MP3 file of the siren wail tone.

In 2010, there are 51 sirens for outdoor warning notification throughout Licking County. The newest sirens are battery operated with a trickle charge so that the sirens are not electrical dependent. Along with the EAS, the Center also operates a computer data base from the NWS storm center for the potential of severe weather showing the exact location of a storm and projected path. It also measures the speed, duration and the atmospheric conditions which may show severe weather before a warning is issued. Licking County Emergency Management Agency (LCEMA) has the capability of direct radio communications with the NWS in Wilmington to report and to receive emergency information. With all the modern technology the NWS also relies on storm spotters for information from an area to better understand the conditions. Licking County has over 100 registered Storm Spotters and holds a class once a year to teach residence on spotting severe weather and the procedure to report their finding to the NWS.

On the first Wednesday of every month a test of the system is conducted at 12:15pm (unless there is severe weather in Licking County), depending on the area of the county and the type of sirens the test is an auditable or a silent test. The test checks the newest sirens batteries and the radio equipment to activate the warning sirens. Each year Licking County participates in the State of Ohio Drill for Severe Weather and reviews and conducts a drill as if a warning has been issued for the county.

A good example of this process is the need for debris removal assistance from the public right-of-way following a disaster. If the local resources are not able to provide manpower and equipment to remove and haul the debris, due to the large amount of debris left by the disaster, contact would be made with the State of Ohio Emergency Management Agency to request resources to handle the problem. The resources would be assigned either by the Ohio EMA or requested from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A Disaster of this magnitude would have a request from the Governor to the President for a Presidential Declaration.

To Activate an Alert Warning

A warning system must have a creditable procedure for an Alert Warning and must fit into two scenarios, 1) The NWS has issued a Tornado Warning for Licking County or (2) a tornado/funnel cloud has be spotted by a public safety personnel. Because direction and speed of the storm may not be totally predictable all of the warning sirens are activated countywide. As we saw in 1998 it took a total of 13 mins for a tornado to move from the northwest corner of Licking County (Delaware County Line) to the Village of Utica. When one or both of the alert scenarios are meet the 9-1-1 center activates the warning siren by radio signal, the sirens are activated with a constent siren tone for a three (3) min cycle followed by 1 min of silence. If your community has a severe weather warning siren the best way to remember if the siren is activated because of a test or a actual warning is, if the siren continues to ring for more than one (1) min or if the siren rings then goes quite then rings again, this would represent an actual alert and you should take shelter immediately. The warning siren will continue to ring until the warning is canceled.

History of severe Weather in Licking County

Since 1958 Licking County Has had been the site of 17 tornadoes. As a result of these tornadoes there has been 26 injuries and one death and 30.3 million dollars in property damage and 110 thousand dollars in crop damage. Licking County ranks 10th in the state for tornado activity. The tornadoes accrued from the months of May to the latest of September 20, 2000 but can occur in any month of the year. The most probable time for tornadoes in Licking County is from April to July. The strongest tornado in Licking County F-3 occurred on May 31, 1985 killing one and injuring 20 in northwest, central and eastern part of the County. Most recent tornado occurred at 11:15pm on June 13, 2004 in the Brownsville area with and estimated property damage of 10 thousand dollars. Licking County has had a reported 111 Severe Thunders storms events since 1956, causing 3.3 million dollars property damage, 21 injuries and 3 deaths, most recent August 4, 2004 in the Granville area.

Fujita Scale

F-0 light damage winds less than 73 mph, branches broken from trees F-1 moderate damage winds 73-112 mph peels surface off roofs F-2 Considerable damage 113-157 mph winds roofs torn off, large trees snapped F-3 Severe damage 158-206 mph roofs and walls torn off, uprooted trees, cars lifted F-4 Devastating damage 207-260 mph home level, structures blown off some distances. F5 Incredible damage 261-318 mph winds home swept away

Tornado watch- Tornadoes are possible, remain alert, and Listen to local radio and TV station.

Tornado Warning- Tornado has been sighted or indicated on radar, imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm, seek shelter.

Be prepared


  • Make sure essential electronics are fully charged.
  • Store a flashlight in an easily accessible place in case the power goes out.
  • Have AT LEAST 3 days of nonperishable food and water set aside in your disaster supply kit. (find the full list of items to include at
  • Make a plan and know where you’re going to go during severe weather/a tornado.



  • “When thunder roars, go indoors.” Lightning can strike in your area even if the storm is 10 miles away.
  • The safest place during a tornado is the lowest level, innermost room.
  • “Turn around, don’t drown” applies to walking as well as driving. It doesn’t take a lot of water to knock you down or even move your vehicle.



  • Replenish any supplies used.