Sirens rang out across UNC’s campus Friday morning, warning the community of the tornado watch issued for Orange County.
There was some confusion about whether a tornado had been spotted in the area, which was not the case.
Alert Carolina, the campus’s warning system, issued text and email notifications cautioning the community about the severe weather system moving into the area. The sirens were activated at 10:09 a.m.
Randy Young of the UNC Department of Public Safety said that sirens are activated when the National Weather Services issues a tornado warning, or if there is a “significant, severe and/or potentially life-threatening weather condition.”
“Some of the PA system sirens on the announcements say “tornado sighted’ because that is the way they are prerecorded. Knowing that, it was our goal that people to seek shelter, so either message had the same outcome hopefully,” Young said.
In June of 2013, a UNC student died in weather conditions similar to Friday’s storm.
“We wanted to err on the side of caution, and our biggest goal in this was the safety of the campus community,” Young said.
WCHL received reports that some campus members did not receive the Alert Carolina warning texts. Young said could have happened for a number of reasons, such as the person’s cell phone carrier.
“In the event of any situation like this, we will review what transpired and look at the elements that succeeded. We will certainly look at making any improvements where they can be made,” he said.
As of 10:58 a.m. Friday, the “all clear” sirens were activated.
Young said you can submit feedback about any emergency alerts issue via the Alert Carolina website.