National Weather Service: No East Coast Tsunami Warning - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: AccuWeather Blames Weather Service for Bogus Tsunami Warning

Posted: Feb 06, 2018 9:18 AM Updated:

(AP)- A private forecasting company took a routine National Weather Service test message and sent it to people's phones as an official tsunami warning Tuesday morning, the latest in a spate of false alarms since last month.

The National Tsunami Warning Center sent the test message around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Users of the popular AccuWeather app then got a false tsunami alert. The message was sent to phones throughout the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

State College, Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather blamed the National Weather Service for the false alarm, saying the weather service "miscoded" a test message as a real warning. The word "TEST" was in the header of the message, but the private forecaster said it passes along weather service warnings based on a computer scan of codes.

"Tsunami warnings are handled with the utmost concern by AccuWeather and it has sophisticated algorithms to scan the entire message, not just header words, as from the time of a warning to the actual event can be mere minutes," the forecaster said in a statement.

"AccuWeather was correct in reading the mistaken NWS codes embedded in the warning. The responsibility is on the NWS to properly and consistently code the messages, for only they know if the message is correct or not," AccuWeather said.

The weather service said earlier Tuesday that it's looking into why the test message was transmitted as a real alert. It did not immediately respond to AccuWeather's assertions.

The weather service said the false alarm didn't appear on any of its communications channels, but AccuWeather said some NWS web pages did show the warning.

Jeremy DaRos, of Portland, Maine, said the alert made him "jump" because he lives a stone's throw from the water and was aware of recent spate of small earthquakes that made the alert seem plausible.

"Looking out the window and seeing the ocean puts you in a different frame of mind when you get a tsunami warning," he said. He said that after clicking on the push notification for details he realized it was just a test.

The false alert didn't create nearly as much panic as last month's bogus ballistic missile warning in Hawaii. The state employee who sent the alert was fired.

Also last month, a malfunction triggered sirens at a North Carolina nuclear power plant.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Police Investigating Pocomoke American Legion Shooting

    Police Investigating Pocomoke American Legion Shooting

    Feb 18, 2018 3:03 PM2018-02-18 20:03:00 GMT
    Sunday, February 18 2018 3:03 PM EST2018-02-18 20:03:08 GMT
    Pocomoke Police are investigating a shooting that happened at the American Legion early Sunday morning.More
    Pocomoke Police are investigating a shooting that happened at the American Legion early Sunday morning. More
  • Delaware State Auditor Does Not Seek Re-election

    Delaware State Auditor Does Not Seek Re-election

    Feb 17, 2018 11:41 PM2018-02-18 04:41:00 GMT
    Saturday, February 17 2018 11:41 PM EST2018-02-18 04:41:58 GMT
    DOVER, De.- Delaware state auditor, Tom Wagner, has announced he will not seek re-election this year. Wagner was appointed to the position in 1989 and was elected to his seventh term in 2014. He’s one of two Republicans elected to statewide office. More
    DOVER, De.- Delaware state auditor, Tom Wagner, has announced he will not seek re-election this year. Wagner was appointed to the position in 1989 and was elected to his seventh term in 2014. He’s one of two Republicans elected to statewide office. More
  • Traffic Stop Leads to Police Pursuit; Weapons and Drugs Seized

    Traffic Stop Leads to Police Pursuit; Weapons and Drugs Seized

    Feb 17, 2018 3:27 PM2018-02-17 20:27:00 GMT
    Saturday, February 17 2018 3:32 PM EST2018-02-17 20:32:23 GMT
    Courtesy of the Georgetown Police Department Courtesy of the Georgetown Police Department
    The Georgetown Police Department said they arrested a Brooklyn, NY, man early Friday morning after he lead them on a pursuit and had various drugs and guns in his car.More
    The Georgetown Police Department said they arrested a Brooklyn, NY, man early Friday morning after he lead them on a pursuit and had various drugs and guns in his car. More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices