False Tornado Warning

I was awoken last night about 1:30 am to my Qolsys panel alerting me of a Tornado Warning. I immediately checked the NWS and learned that there was not a Tornado Warning. This is the first time I’ve received a false alarm, is this common?

Alerts are sent by Zip Code. One for your area was indeed generated last night. You can email customerservice@suretyDIY.com and request the NWS message if you would like.

Quick q: Does the severe weather sound the normal alarm siren or a different noise? I have it turned off for now (and truthfully we don’t get any severe weather here that triggers those alerts) but just curious. I’d hate to wake up to that thinking it’s a break-in when it’s something completely different.


When I get the occasional severe weather alert, it sounds like any trouble alert issued by panel (e.g., low battery, communication failure, malfunction).

As far as I know it does not activate the siren.

Yes, it is more akin to a trouble alert. On 2GIG it will produce the trouble sound. On a Qolsys panel, it will sound slightly more like the siren, but will announce weather alert. The siren is activated in pulses rather than solid. The weather warning flashes over the whole touchscreen.

I would say the Qolsys method is more jarring, definitely, but it is of course a Tornado, Wildfire, or Tsunami warning.

Yeah, I keep doing that, I missed the part of the post where he said Qolsys…

Thanks Jason. Is there a list somewhere of what constitutes a weather alert or can some desk jockey at NWS hit the red button on a whim :stuck_out_tongue:

Well I can’t speak for how the NWS handles it, but the only alerts that are sent to the panel are Tornado, Tsunami, and Wildfire.

Alarm.com used to forward severe thunderstorm warnings, but these occur so often that it is more of an annoyance I think. On a demo panel system here I can see (using dealer tools) a list of NWS storm alerts that are generated for the area but not sent. It is a very long list.

The goal is also, I’m sure, to make sure that when these alerts are sent they are not ignored, otherwise there is little value.

Interesting. Severe thunderstorms are pretty much the only ones that would affect me here in the high desert. Not much chance of a tsunami (hah!) or tornado although a wildfire is possible but not likely where I am.

I guess I can safely re-enable those alerts now :slight_smile:

I thought I was subscribed to this thread, but wasn’t. Sorry for the delay in responding. I took a look and you’re right, there was a tornado warning, but I’m not sure I’d classify it as being in my area.

Maybe this is an area for improvement by alarm.com. Looking at the warning that was issued https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CIZ_vB5VAAA-AvP.png

I live in the upper right corner of the map, right and up from ‘Clinton’ and ‘Lone Star’ in the orange shaded area, which looks to be about 13 miles from the nearest edge of the warning area.

None of the warning area was in my zipcode (66049), the nearest zip code that contained a warned area was 66524. The nearest point of my zipcode to the nearest point of the warned area is about 8 miles.

The only other factor that I can identify that would have caused the warning on my panel was that part of the warned area was in my county.

With the information that alarm.com has available (the address of the panel), they should be able to geocode the location and precisely determine whether the panel is located in the warned area because the NWS issues the warning with coordinates for the warned area.

Interesting. I know alerts will cover a certain proximity to the actual warning path, I’ll verify with ADC.

More localized warnings are still fairly new with the NWS, and existing warning systems. These days, they take the better safe than sorry approach, so if even a light TVS or hook echo is detected by radar anywhere in a county, it usually sounds the warning for the entire county. Some areas of the country have revised this approach some so that the county is broken into grids, but I think the general alert that goes out from NWS (which is likely what ADC picks up on) is for a given county.

Correct, it has been verified the NWS alert will be sent based on proximity to threat area and will typically include the entire county should part of it be in the projected path.