PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — When a weather warning siren in Portage started going off last week, it was a real headscratcher for nearby residents like David Hancock.

“It goes around and boy, when that thing blares this way, you want to (cover your ears),” Hancock said. “It’s really loud!”

The now-silenced siren on W. Centre Avenue between Moorsbridge Road and Cooley Drive first started making unexpected noise about 3:45 p.m. Thursday. It was unexpected in the middle of a snowstorm.

“…I didn’t know what was going on. That was the main thing. And I checked with the local television news. (They) never mentioned it,” Hancock said. “You don’t know. It’s just the unknown is what it really amounts to.”

The tornado siren on W. Centre Avenue near Moorsbridge Road in Portage. (Nov. 21, 2022)
The tornado siren on W. Centre Avenue between Moorsbridge Road and Cooley Drive in Portage. (Nov. 21, 2022)

The siren is one of 16 in the city of Portage and can be triggered by Kalamazoo County Consolidated Dispatch Authority dispatchers or by Portage Department of Public Safety officers if a tornado is sighted.

The one that went off was silenced by essentially pulling the plug, killing power to the siren Thursday. But the problem wasn’t solved. Someone forgot about the battery backup.

About 6 a.m. Sunday, the siren started rattling windows and nerves again.

“It makes sense. The part that doesn’t make sense it that somebody didn’t realize there was a backup,” Hancock said with a chuckle.

A spokesperson sent News 8 a statement Monday afternoon saying the city still doesn’t know why the siren sounded Thursday. Technicians from the company that services the sirens were expected on site sometime Monday to figure that out and fix the problem.

The sirens are tested on the first Saturday of every month to make sure they will go off when they need to.

Hancock is concerned the recent misfires could create a kind of cried-wolf situation.

“That’s why they’ve got to get the word out, inform people. Otherwise, you just go with the flow,” Hancock said.