ANDERSON — Tornado sirens weren't set off in Anderson on Thursday night after trained weather spotters determined the city did not face any direct risk from a tornado warning issued for southeast Madison County.
Madison County authorities spotted a funnel cloud southeast of Hoosier Park Racing and Casino near Indiana 236 and County Road 300 East at about 3:45 p.m. Thursday. After being spotted, the cloud continued to head east toward Henry County.
Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith said Frank Dick, a member of the Anderson Board of Public Safety, is in charge of deciding when to sound the sirens. Smith said he understands there was a funnel cloud in southeast Madison County but that there is no indication the cloud ever turned into a tornado. He also pointed out the funnel cloud was not in the city limits at any point.
A National Weather Service meteorologist confirmed the funnel cloud that formed near Anderson did not touch down Thursday night.
Dick said there are two circumstances that would prompt the city to set off the sirens. The first is a trained spotter seeing a funnel cloud either in Anderson or posing an immediate threat to the city. He said the funnel cloud spotted Thursday was well outside city limits and moving away from the city.
The second circumstance is the city being under a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado warning simultaneously. He said, under those conditions, a tornado could be hidden by clouds or rain, so the sirens would automatically be activated.
By the time the tornado warning was issued for southeast Madison County, the storm had moved out of Anderson so, according to Dick, the threat of not being able to see a tornado was gone.
"If there is a threat, we are going to set the sirens off," Dick said. "But last night there was no threat to Anderson."