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Woodford County – Emergency Management

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Watches & Warnings

KY River Lock 6

Woodford County is a StormReady Community

Outdoor Warning Sirens

What is an outdoor warning siren?

Woodford County can experience severe weather year round. An Outdoor Warning Siren aims at signaling to people outdoors who cannot hear warnings through broadcasts that a tornado warning has been issued. The sirens are not meant to warn people indoors, although you may hear the siren inside if you live close to it.

What is the difference between a watch and a warning?

A watch is issued when the risk of hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain. It is intended to provide enough lead time so those who need to set their plans in motion can do so. Watches evolve into warnings, advisories, or they are canceled. Warnings are issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurrence. A warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property. The National Weather Service is the single official voice when issuing warnings for life-threatening situations.

Who decides to sound the sirens, and when will I hear them?

Sirens are sounded when the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for Woodford County or if a tornado is sighted by a first responders or a trained weather spotter. Sirens can be sounded from either the City of Versailles Dispatch Center (which services the entire County) or by Emergency Management. Sirens are tested twice per month, the first and third Wednesday at 11:00 AM unless threatening weather is in our area

What should I do when I hear the siren?

Take immediate cover when you hear a siren. Seek further information from local media (television or radio). Go indoors to a safe room at ground level or below with as few windows as possible. Basements are typically the best option. If you are in a vehicle and unable to exit your vehicle and see a tornado approaching, drive at a right or left angle from the approaching tornado. Tornadoes almost always move in a nearly straight line. The best option is to seek shelter in a near by structure. If you are outside, do not take shelter under a bridge. Instead, lay flat on the ground in a ditch or depression below ground level, if possible.

How will my family be alerted indoors at night?

Everyone must take personal responsibility to monitor radio and television weather reports when severe weather occurs. We recommend that households and businesses have a Weather Radio, which sounds an alarm when the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning. If you buy a radio, we strongly recommend you purchase one that is capable of being programmed for Woodford County using SAME technology. The NOAA Weather Radio is an all Hazards Alert System. The SAME code for Woodford County is 021239. Codes for other counties can be found here.

Do first responders have advance notification of severe weather?

The first responders in Woodford County, just like all other communities, receive severe weather information from the same media outlets as the public. The combination of information from the National Weather Service and local radar sites in Lexington provide the most accurate and up-to-date information available for everyone.

Where are the sirens located in Woodford County?

Woodford County has eleven outdoor warning sirens located at: Versailles City Hall, Highland Avenue Water Tower, Kuhlman Drive in the Versailles Industrial Park near the soccer complex, Midway Fire Department, Midway Industrial Park, Sycamore Park, Beasley Drive at the Recycling Center, Mortonsville Water Tower, Millville Baptist Church, between Huntertown and Soutside Elementary Schools, and Huntertown Road near Faith Baptist Church.


Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service recognize Woodford County, as one of the agency's "StormReady" counties. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The StormReady program encourages counties to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness. Kentucky and Woodford County have a long history of severe weather and it is the goal of StormReady to reduce the impact of severe weather in the state.

The nationwide community preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help organizations such as counties and universities develop plans to handle local severe weather and flooding threats. The program is voluntary and provides communities with clear-cut advice from a partnership between the local NWS Weather Forecast Office and state and local emergency managers. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area. There are now more than 750 StormReady communities in 47 states.

To be recognized as "StormReady," a county must:

  • Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center.
  • Have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public.
  • Create a system that monitors weather conditions locally.
  • Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars.
  • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

Over ninety percent of all presidential declared disasters are weather related. The mission of the National Weather Service is to reduce the loss of life and property from these storms, and 'StormReady' will help residents of Woodford County be prepared for the next weather disaster.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA's National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

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