The Laramie County Combined Communications Center has issued a statement on Facebook explaining the decision to activate the emergency warning sirens on Sunday afternoon as tornadoes were reported in rural parts of Laramie County.

The statement includes the following explanation of the decision:

"At about 3 pm on Sunday, May 27th, severe weather produced large hail, rain, several confirmed funnel clouds, and possibly up to three tornadoes; one of which destroyed or damaged 8 properties in Laramie County northwest of Cheyenne.

At 4:48:05 a Laramie County first responder radio reported a funnel cloud to the Center over the Winchester Hills area south of Cheyenne. While the responder was giving his radio report, the Center simultaneously received a phone call at 4:48:07 of rotation in the clouds above the Sun Valley subdivision in Cheyenne.

In light of the existing weather conditions and the information known at the time, the Center’s on-duty supervisor made the difficult decision to activate the outdoor warning sirens for the city of Cheyenne. This is a decision never made lightly by Center personnel.

The administration of the Laramie County Combined Communications Center and the Director of the Cheyenne-Laramie County Emergency Management Agency support the supervisor’s decision to activate the outdoor warning sirens. Hindsight frequently provides a different picture of a situation, but decisions must be made quickly and with the information known at the time.

The Center and Emergency Management would also like to remind everyone in the Laramie County area that the outdoor warning sirens are “all-hazard” sirens and not just for weather incidents. The recommended course of action when the sirens sound is to seek shelter immediately and turn on a local television or radio station to find out further information."

Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr took to Twitter on Sunday evening to criticize the decision to activate the sirens for causing unnecessary panic.

The mayor pointed out the National Weather Service said Cheyenne was never in imminent danger from the tornadoes.

At least three twisters are known to have touched down in rural parts of Laramie County. While 8 homes were damaged, no one was killed or seriously injured.