MAP | More than 1 million residents live in tornado siren dead zones in Northeast Ohio

Largest cities lack even a single siren

CLEVELAND - An exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation reveals more than 1 million residents live in tornado siren dead zones across Northeast Ohio.

Included in cities without tornado siren systems are Cleveland and Akron — leaving nearly 600,000 residents without warning of life-threatening tornadoes.

Our investigation analyzed emergency plans, storm data and tornado sirens across Northeast Ohio and and mapped locations where sirens are located.

A county-by-county map of tornado sirens. Darker counties have more sirens. Click the map to see the number for each county. Credit Nikki Ferrell.

Lorain county, which has led the state in tornadoes since 1950, had the fewest number of sirens with only a dozen and there are no sirens located in the county's two largest cities: Lorain and Elyria.

Lake county, with 107, has the most — largely because of the nearby Perry Nuclear Power Plant.

In Cuyahoga county, there are 69 tornado sirens located in 22 different cities — but none in Cleveland.

Tornado sirens by city for Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit and Wayne counties in Northeast Ohio. Click the markers to see the numbers for each city. Credit Nikki Ferrell.

Summit county has 50 sirens across 16 communities — but none in Akron.

Akron's fire chief explained that while the city has debated the siren issue for years, the size of the city at 62 square miles would require several million dollars worth of investment in sirens, finally concluding that many sirens would not even be heard because of topography of the city that is vastly different than more rural areas where sound travels more effectively.

But emergency preparedness officials admit that sirens are only effective up to perhaps a mile and lose effectiveness indoors or if residents are sleeping.

Instead, they advise also having a weather radio nearby.

You can also download our exclusive Storm Shield weather app, which delivers storm alerts to your mobile device with pinpoint accuracy, keeping you ahead of the storm. 

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