Tsunami Warning mistakenly sent to phones

Casey Dawson
February 7, 2018

People along the East and Gulf coasts took to social media Tuesday morning after a test tsunami warning was apparently confused for the real thing, prompting at least one company to send alerts to residents from Texas to New York City.

The National Weather Service said its National Tsunami Warning Center had issued a routine test message earlier in the day that someone had misconstrued.

The notification applied to Horry and Georgetown counties, as well as areas along the east coast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, but Pfaff said there is no current warning. The Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 caused the deaths of over 250,000 people while displacing hundreds of thousands more. The weather service is looking into it. "Severe Weather Alert", the notification read, "Tsunami Warning in effect for [Location]".

Last month, residents of the West Coast were warned to brace for possible tsunami after an quake off the coast of Alaska.

The fine print of the warning issued by the National Weather Service clearly stated that the message was meant for test purposes only to determine the transmission times involved in the dissemination of tsunami information. "Then my mind immediately went to the false alarm in Hawaii, with the nuclear warning".

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ME resident Jeremy DaRoss - who lives along the coastline in Portland - said the water visible from his house looked a little different after the alert appeared on his phone.

The mistake quickly drew comparisons to the false missile alert that was sent to people in Hawaii on January 13.

On Jan. 13, an emergency alert mistakenly warning of an incoming ballistic missile attack was sent to cellphones across Hawaii, setting off panic in an atmosphere of ratcheted up tensions between the US and North Korea. "We do tsunami alert testing every month, and it was the same message that went out every month". That employee, who had "confused real-life events and drills in the past" according to the FCC, was fired.

There were reports of alerts being received on phones in New York, Texas, Florida, Louisana and SC.

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