APPLETON - Next Monday work is scheduled to begin on Outagamie County's tornado siren system. The two-week project includes upgrades the county says are long overdue.
But county residents will need to keep their eyes to the skies during the work, because the sirens will be off.
Not much has changed about Outagamie County's warning siren network since the 1970s, but now the county is spending more than $95,000 for some improvements.
"Just like after a certain amount of time you have to rebuild a road, rebuild a bridge, you have to rebuild your communication system," explained Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.
The project will include an update to the communication system. That's being done to meet federal safety standards.
The county will also add a new tornado siren repeater tower. The county board has been vocal about doing that project following those powerful storms at the beginning of August, which brought several tornadoes to the area.
"They passed a resolution to allow for the construction at a recent board meeting, so we wanted to act as promptly as possible," said Nelson.
Matt Graf lives near a tornado siren in Appleton and told an upgrade is important. He was shaken up by the August tornadoes.
"I think it's a good idea," said Graf.
But one warning the county does want to get out to the public is that during the upgrade the sirens themselves will not be working.
"I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. We can be more aware of that on our own, keep track of the weather ourselves," said Graf.
Nelson told us officials chose October for the project because the likelihood of severe weather is low.
"Once you get to winter it's very difficult to make those upgrades if at all and then you don't want to do this in the middle of the warm, summer months at peak storm season," said Nelson.
County officials recommend buying a weather radio.
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