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Outdoor Warning System in Rowlett struck by lightning, did not activate during Sunday night’s severe storm

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Weather conditions are closely monitored from our Emergency Operations Center in an effort to provide advance notification to our community in the event of a severe weather outbreak. We all know that the purpose of our Outdoor Warning System (big outdoor sirens around town) is to let people who are outdoors know to seek shelter during a severe weather event. This system is tested monthly on the first Wednesday at 1pm. During last night’s storm, the tower that maintains the activation repeater (aka the system’s “brain”) was struck by lightning, which caused the system to malfunction and not activate. Although there are lightning protection measures in place on the tower, the volume of lightning was significant. As of this morning, all damage has been repaired, the system has been tested and is operational.

Communicating these severe weather events with our citizens is of the utmost importance. For that very reason, the City of Rowlett also has a system called Connect Rowlett to alert those who are indoors or away from home to approaching dangerous weather conditions so that appropriate safety measures can be taken. Connect Rowlett is an emergency notification service allowing Rowlett residents to opt-in and receive information via phone call, text message, and/or email based on locations and subjects relevant to you. This system is used to notify residents of imminent threats to health and safety as well as informational notifications that affect home and/or work environments, such as severe weather, flooding, gas leaks, police activity and more.

Even if you don’t create your Connect Rowlett profile, emergency notifications will still be sent based on the various service providers’ 9-1-1 data, but we do encourage you to sign up so that you can customize the way and to whom information is delivered. For example, you may still have a land-line in your home…but don’t even have a phone plugged into it anymore. With a Connect Rowlett profile, you can specify that we send alerts via text message to your mobile phone so you don’t miss them-and every member of your household can create their own profile!

Sign up for Connect Rowlett today at

“We have to prepare for natural disasters well before they occur and redundant systems are important in this process. At the end of the day, nothing beats the individual preparedness of the residents. Staying in tune with TV weather stations, weather radios and situational awareness of the family is the most important part of preparedness,” says Rowlett Fire Chief Neil Howard. “Even though we maintain these devices on a monthly basis, Mother Nature can wreak havoc with technology.”

Information courtesy of City of Rowlett

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