Better, Bigger, Broader
Metro’s Outdoor Tornado Warning System began with a federal grant in 2002, and has become better, bigger and broader. Between late February and the end of April 2013, 20 new sites were added, going from 73 to 93 locations countywide. Each siren is located in public gathering places selected by city planners on the basis of outdoor population and population density.
Funded with $2 million in local capital improvement dollars recommended by Mayor Karl Dean and approved by the Metro Council, the entire system was also upgraded with new siren equipment that emitted an easier-to-hear warning signal, which is more like an old air-raid warning rather than the mechanical tone previously used. The expanded, upgraded system makes the coverage area bigger and broader across Davidson County.
In 2020, The Nashville Office of Emergency Management in conjunction with Federal Signal, Commtech Radio and Metro Information Technology Services completed upgrades to the existing Outdoor Tornado Warning System.
The new Outdoor Tornado Warning System will operate on a Polygonal Alert model. This model will provide warnings to a focused polygonal alert area based on information coming directly from the National Weather Service.
The upgrade to the Outdoor Tornado Warning System included updating technology on 93 existing tornado sirens across Davidson County. OEM also added 20 new siren sites to expand the coverage footprint into more rural areas of Davidson County, bringing the total to 113 sirens.
The Outdoor Tornado Warning Siren system is to help those in outdoor areas be aware that a tornado warning has been issued for any portion of the county.
A Tornado Warning means a tornado may have been indicated on Doppler radar or a trained spotter has spotted a funnel cloud or tornado in progress. The entire system remained ready at all times, with both signals ready to be used during the construction and upgrade period.
This web page provides the information you need about how the system works, a map of current and new siren locations and how the new siren signal (and the old one) sounds. All sirens are tested at noon on the first Saturday of each month and silently tested daily internally by the system itself. Other than tests, the sirens are only activated by the National Weather Service when NWS issues a Tornado Warning for a portion of Davidson County.
When the sirens are activated:
- Go inside and seek additional information on the weather via weather radio, local news etc.
- If you're in the path of the storm, go inside a sturdy building to the lowest level,away from exterior walls Stay away from windows.
- Cover your head
- If there is no building available, and the storm is on top of you, find a ditch or low-lying area
- Lay down and cover your head
- Wait until the storm passes, then go safely
Tornado Siren Policy
Severe weather can develop rapidly, so whenever a Tornado Warning is issued for Davidson County the National Weather Service will activate tornado sirens in a polygonal system. This system will activate tornado sirens in the projected path of the possible Tornado. (The previous system activated ALL tornado sirens, despite where the projected path of the storm was forecast.)
Nashville/Davidson County has been a StormReady community since 2000!