STUART, Iowa — “It crossed right in front of the interstate, maybe a mile in front of us,” said Stuart resident Joshua Downing, who lives right next to the siren on the north side of town. Downing was coming back from Adventureland on Wednesday when he witnessed the tornado.
“There was a tiny bit of hail, there wasn`t much lighting or anything, but it was almost zero visibility,” said Downing.
The siren on the south side of Stuart was not able to warn people on Wednesday, even as a tornado touched down just a few miles away.
“The siren, it stopped working yesterday during that storm that we have,” said City Administrator Ash Ashour. “It was reported to me by the fire chief today that the situation is under control. He`s working on it and hopefully will be fixed today or tomorrow at the most,” said Ashour.
On Thursday, fire officials tested the city’s tornado sirens at 10 o’clock in the morning. An announcement was made on the Stuart Rescue’s facebook page…cautioning “This is only a TEST.”
“I was frustrated that they didn`t make the announcement very public about the siren being tested and with my daughter`s anxieties it took us a few hours to calm her back down because of it,” said North Main Street resident Jodi Doherty, who would like to have had more of a warning about the test in advance from city officials. “They posted it on one specific page on facebook and I don’t follow that page,” said Doherty.
Jodi’s 11 year-old daughter Jetta gets extreme anxiety over storms. “She has gotten so worked up before that she’s passed out,” said Doherty. Thursday Morning’s test gave Jetta a scare. “She freaked out and immediately grabbed her stuffed animals and ran for the basement,” said Doherty.
Stuart Rescue commented on facebook: “We apologize for the short notice. We were notified this morning at 9am from the city that the siren on the south side of town did not work yesterday. We are trying to figure out the problem and fix it as soon as possible. Again we apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused you.”