Botched NWS Test Triggers Fake Tsunami Warning | News & Opinion

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People along the East Coast and other areas received the bogus push notification from AccuWeather today, though the company blamed the National Weather Service for the blunder.


Cell Phone Emergency Alert

Did you receive a push notification on your phone this morning about a tsunami warning in your area? Don’t be alarmed: there is no actual tsunami threat in the US at this time.

Residents of the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean received the bogus push notification from AccuWeather today, though the company deflected blame onto the National Weather Service.

“Severe Weather Alert,” the notification read. “Tsunami Warning in effect.”

In a statement, AccuWeather said a “miscoded” National Weather Service test alert triggered the fake warning. “AccuWeather has the most sophisticated system for passing on NWS tsunami warnings based on a complete computer scan of the codes used by the NWS,” the company wrote. “While the words ‘TEST’ were in the header, the actual codes read by computers used coding for real warning, indicating it was a real warning.”

The company went on to say that the warning “also later appeared on other sources such as The Weather Channel and it even appears on some pages of the NWS own website as a real warning.”

The NWS confirmed there is no actual tsunami threat and said it’s “looking into” the matter. The agency denied disseminating the bogus alert on any of its official communication channels.

Meanwhile, AccuWeather’s CEO Barry Myers said this not the first time the NWS has messed up its coding and triggered fake alerts. Myers said he wrote to the NWS in Oct. 2014 predicting this would happen.

“The responsibility is on the NWS to properly and consistently code the messages, for only they know if the message is correct or not,” the company wrote. “We are continuing to work with NWS to determine why this coding was improperly embedded in its test alert system.”

The alert comes several week after the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency accidentally sent a ballistic missile warning test out to all residents in the area, creating widespread panic.





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