A siren that frightened Lorraine Godoy as a child will wail once again in Hawaii, decades after the Cold War-era threat of nuclear attack subsided.
The state on Friday is dusting off the system intended to warn people of an impending nuclear strike just days after North Korea launched its most powerful missile yet. Godoy, 75, said the test will bring back vivid memories of air raid sirens from her childhood on the Big Island.
"It's very scary. It's loud. It's frightening," Godoy said. "I'm just glad I don't have any children or grandchildren living here ... because it was very scary to hear as a child."
The monthly test of Hawaii's siren warning system for natural disasters will include a new tone. The wailing sound of the attack warning will come after the long, steady siren for tsunamis and other events that people in Hawaii have grown accustomed to.
"We believe that it is imperative that we be prepared for every disaster, and in today's world, that includes a nuclear attack," Hawaii Gov. David Ige said, adding that the possibility of a strike is remote.
Ige said the new test will ensure the public knows what they should do in case of an imminent attack. If a missile is launched, residents and tourists would have less than 20 minutes to take shelter, officials said.
"There needs to be different action taken should there be a nuclear attack than what is expected for a hurricane or tsunami," the governor said this week.
Vern Miyagi, administrator for Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, said the state delayed the test for a month to let people know it would be happening. Hawaii turned to public service announcements on TV and radio, town hall meetings, information on agency websites and media stories.
"The public can handle it. They're not going to panic," Miyagi said.
The test comes the same week that North Korea fired a powerful nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile it calls the Hwasong-15, leading analysts to conclude the nation has made a jump in its missile capability. The weapon would have a range of more than 8,100 miles (13,000 kilometers), easily reaching the U.S. mainland.