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Livonia residents: Why were there no sirens to warn of tornado? NWS explains

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Posted at 7:58 PM, Jun 06, 2024

LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) — Longtime Livonia resident Jean Priebe was surprised there were no sirens sounding to warn of the tornado that swept through part of the city, touching down for an estimated nine minutes.

"Very surprised because every time there's a raindrop, the sirens go off. We've even had them go off during snow storms, so I was very surprised," Priebe told 7 News Detroit.

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Longtime Livonia resident Jean Priebe talks after a tornado touched down in the city. (June 5, 2024)

The National Weather Service sends out a warning to local municipalities and other agencies, alerting them of dangerous weather or a tornado.

Livonia never received that notification.

City officials told residents on the city's website that the "NWS called it a spin-up storm which didn’t show up on their radars in enough time to issue a warning."

VIDEO: After Livonia tornado, families and neighbors band together for clean-up effort

After Livonia tornado, families and neighbors band together for clean-up effort

Brian Kahn, Livonia's director of emergency preparedness told 7 News Thursday that they are heartbroken that a little boy died as a result of a tree crashing into his family's home.

VIDEO: Tornado kills toddler in Livonia, mother in critical condition after tree crushes home

Tornado kills toddler in Livonia, mother in critical condition after tree crushes home

"There just simply wasn't the forewarning to notice to get that information out," he said.

Jaclyn Anderson, a warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said the tornado spun up so fast that there wasn't enough time to make an assessment.

VIDEO: WXYZ Meteorologist Mike Taylor explains that Livonia tornado was a 'non-supercell tornado'

WXYZ meteorologist Mike Taylor explains that Livonia tornado was a 'non-supercell tornado'

"There was a very weak circulation that we were seeing on radar for a very brief moment of time when that tornado was on the ground," Anderson said.

7 News asked why a tornado on the ground for nine minutes was not enough time to activate a warning to the city of Livonia.

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Jaclyn Anderson, a warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service, talks about a tornado that touched down in Livonia. (June 5, 2024)

Anderson replied, "Our radar updates were coming in about every four to five minutes. So if you think about that, in the grand scheme of things, it's possible that we weren't getting the the best sampling of what was happening given how fast that tornado spun up."

Click on the main video player to hear more from the National Weather Service as well as 7 News Meteorologist Mike Taylor as he talks about the warnings the 7 News weather team was issuing days earlier.