Billings residents have been wondering why warning sirens didn’t sound during Saturday’s hailstorm.  The Yellowstone County director of Emergency and General Services Yellowstone County’s director of Emergency and General Services Brad Shoemaker said Wednesday that the 17 outdoor warning sirens were not sounded because they’re reserved for occasions where potentially life-threatening events are occurring.
A number of people and agencies are authorized to sound the sirens — there are 24 sirens spread throughout the county — but only if there is a credible threat based on information provided.  The most common event in Yellowstone County meeting that description is a tornado.

While there was a tornado warning in northeastern Yellowstone County after hailstones had pounded the Billings West End, it wasn’t in an area covered by county sirens.  On Saturday, warnings of the impending hail and windstorm came through two other channels, the EAS and the NOAA radio systems.