Monday, February 19, 2018




National Weather Service, AccuWeather trade blame for false tsunami warning that alarmed Texans

By Emma Platoff
Feb. 6, 2018 at 9:56 p.m.


Around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, residents of Texas' Gulf Coast — as well as many on the East Coast and in the Caribbean — woke to a tsunami warning. Thirty minutes later, the National Weather Service clarified that the alert was merely a test message sent in error.

A spokesman for the NWS said it's not clear how many people in the area received the alert.

The report comes less than a month after a similar false alarm rocked Hawaii. On Jan. 13, because of a staff error, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent out a nuclear missile warning instructing people to immediately find shelter.

Tuesday's alert was sent in error, apparently because of "erroneous computer coding," the Houston Chronicle reported. In the hours since the alert was sent, a squabble has emerged between the National Weather Service and Accu-Weather, which both appear to be shirking blame for the mistaken message.

The NWS said the test tsunami message was "not disseminated via any communication channels operated by the National Weather Service." AccuWeather, which sent the alert but named the NWS as its source for the information, in turn, said its computers responded correctly to "mistaken NWS codes" in bulletins that the weather service routinely follows. The NWS has said its bulletin was merely a routine test message.

AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers is President Donald Trump's pick to head the government agency that oversees the weather service.

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