For the first time this year, tornado sirens were activated in Amherstburg.

Fire chief Randy Sinasac made the decision to turn them on around 5:30 p.m. Monday.

He was concerned about a potentially violent storm tracking towards the town from Michigan.

"It's not a question of if, it's a question of when it's going to happen," Sinasac said of a tornado touching down. "So, we want to use any tools that we do have as a preventative measure to warn the people in Amherstburg and keep them safe from any potential dangers."

Sinasac says three quarters of the municipality is covered by the sirens.

No other community in Essex County has them.

Part of the reason Amherstburg is equipped with an early warning system is because the town is relatively close to a nuclear reactor in Michigan. 

Environment Canada did issue a tornado watch at 6:48 p.m. Monday.

It was called off around 8 p.m.

Sinasac says he was watching the weather forecasts and radar very closely.

He was tracking a potential twister across the river in Michigan and made the decision to turn on the sirens to warn people.

"You always feel like you get a little bit of cry wolf if nothing happens and people ask why did you do it.  It just rained really hard," he said. "All indications were it was an active tornado warning and a potential for a severe storm hitting the town.

"The sirens are primarily for people outside and we don't want anybody to be outside under those conditions at all."

The storm Sinasac was tracking eventually veered south.

When a tornado touched down in Leamington in 2010, it did so with no advanced warning.