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SAN ANTONIO If it is a siren that you expect to hear in San Antonio when severe weather strikes, think again. Emergency officials say a blaring siren only covers about a half-mile radius.

And the system would prove too costly, considering the sheer size of the Alamo city.

I don t think it s a good fit for the city of San Antonio. With a city our size of 1.5 million people with over 400 square miles, the ability to cover that area is harder than it needs to be, said District Chief Lawrence Trevino, San Antonio s Emergency Manager.

The Emergency Operations Center was in stand-by mode, helping Medina and Atascosa counties when the severe storms hit Monday night.

Law enforcement officials said the communities of Natalia and Devine had tornado sirens, but neighbors said they were silent when the storms struck.

Instead of sirens, San Antonio is banking on high-tech alternatives: reverse 911 calls, Twitter and Facebook updates and phone apps to alert residents of approaching storms.

And although the old civil defense sirens of the 1950 s are history, the common, battery-operated radio is not.

If citizens can purchase a NOAA radio, that s going to get them in touch directly with the alert, Trevino said.

City officials said there is some additional money planned to fight storms-- or storm water in this case. The upcoming bond program seeks $130 million in drainage and flood control.

Mike Frisbie, the Capital Improvements Management Services Director said, They are critical to getting property and homes out of the flood plain, to prevent that kind of property damage and life-threatening issues.

Flood waters, officials said, provide a more immediate and chronic threat than freak tornadoes.
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