In the event of severe weather, the Decorah Police Department is notified by the National Weather Service (NWS) in La Crosse as storms are tracked by radar, according to Decorah Police Chief Bill Nixon.

The Decorah Communication Center then notifies all city and county officers and area fire departments if storm spotters are needed

A storm warning is issued when the NWS feels severe weather has developed and extensive property damage or loss of life could be the result of a storm, or if spotters confirm strong winds, cloud rotation or large diameter hail, Nixon said.

In the case of imminent potentially damaging weather, the outdoor weather sirens are activated. This warning includes the potential of tornadoes or damaging straight-line wind produced by strong thunderstorm cells. Warning sirens are located in incorporated communities as well as Freeport and Frankville.

The outdoor sirens are intended to warn people who are outdoors, Nixon said.

The siren's warning signal is a solid blast of three to five minutes. This warning signal means individuals should seek shelter, moving to a place of safety. Persons should tune to media sources such as weather radios, local radio stations, area television stations or the Internet for further information as to the duration of the warning and to demine when it is safe to resume normal activities.

"There will be no 'all clear' signal from the outdoor warning system," Nixon said. "Citizens are expected to be indoors and monitoring local media for additional information. If a second siren is heard it is an indicator of further severe weather in the area."

Citizens should not dial 911 for weather information, Nixon said.

For more information on severe weather warnings and alerts, or about the Winneshiek County NWS radio operating on 162.525 MHz, contact the NWS in La Crosse at 608-784-8275 or Winneshiek County Emergency Management office at 563-387-4095.