The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Disaster/tornado sirens coming to a few new sites; say goodbye to the last of the yellow Thunderbolts

In City Hall on April 8, 2008 at 10:46 pm

A new emergency siren might be coming to your neighborhood.

The City Council on Wednesday will conduct a public hearing to consider granting easements for five new sites for emergency warning sirens. A sixth new siren doesn’t need an easement.

The places in Cedar Rapids that are in line for new sirens:

The north boundary of Daniels Park on the south side of J Avenue NE.

Fourth Avenue and Sixth Street SE.

A Avenue and First Street NW.

26th Avenue and 11th Street SW.

21st Street SE at the east property line of Ambroz Recreation Center.

The south side of E Avenue NW on Roosevelt Middle School proprety (doesn’t need an easement).

At the same time, sirens are being removed from five Cedar Rapids locations, including existing spots at Ambroz Recreation Center and Roosevelt Middle School. Existing sirens also are being removed at:

Ralston Foods on 16th Street NE.

US Bank in downtown.

Lincoln Center, 16th Avenue and Ninth Street SW.

Renee Nelson, manager of communications and public affairs at FPL Energy Duane Arnold Energy Center, said each new siren costs between $25,000 and $27,000.

The sirens are paid for by the power plant and are required as warning devices in a 10-mile radius of the Duane Arnold nuclear plant.

Of course, the sirens also double as tornado warning sirens, Tom Ulrich, operations officer at the Linn County Emergency Management Agency, noted.

In total, after the upgrades, the Duane Arnold plant will have a network of 144 sirens in the 10-mile radius of the plant. Some of the sirens are in Linn and some in Benton County. Of those, 43 are in Cedar Rapids, seven in Marion and three in Hiawatha.

Nelson said the sirens are controlled and activated primarily by the Linn and Benton emergency management agencies. The addition of six new sirens in Cedar Rapids this year, she said, completes the company’s siren upgrade program begun in 2007. Some sites have been moved, she added, to improve the warning system’s coverage.

Linn County’s Ulrich said the upgrade will eliminate the last of a batch of old Civil Defense sirens that he called yellow Thunderbolts.

 The old sirens, he said, used electric motors that blew air up a pipe and through the horn. The new sires are electric with battery backup. He thought they were a little louder, too.

“Seeing all the upgrades is pretty exciting to me,” Ulrich said.

  1. Is there a map of the locations of the sirens online? I’d like to plot them out on Google Earth for the heck of it.

  2. What will happen to the Thunderbolts? I would like to buy one.

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