A private company is in hot water after it interpreted a test from the National Weather Service as a true alert about a tsunami heading toward the East Coast and sending an alert to its users.
National Weather Service confirms NO Tsunami Warnings for Gulf Coast after test warning sent by third-party app https://t.co/uS6j3aOlrb pic.twitter.com/ebqTgwtbHJ— WWL-TV (@WWLTV) February 6, 2018
The National Weather Service told NPR the warning was a “test message” that was sent out by a private company, Accuweather, as an official warning, and was not the fault of the agency or its National Tsunami Warning Center division.
“The National Tsunami Warning Center of the National Weather Service issued a routine test message at approximately 8:30 am ET this morning,” said National Weather Service spokesperson Susan Buchanan in a statement. “The test message was released by at least one private sector company as an official Tsunami Warning, resulting in widespread reports of tsunami warnings received via phones and other media across the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean.”
The National Weather Service also sent out a tweet an hour after the warning message was sent reaffirming there was no tsunami headed for the U.S.
The National Weather Service is investigating the false warning after another false alarm was sent by Hawaiian officials to residents about a ballistic missile headed for the islands last month. The fired Hawaii emergency management worker who sent out the false alert thought the threat was real.