LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — An emergency radio and television broadcast indicating the entire U.S. West Coast from San Diego to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands was under a tsunami threat was only a test, authorities said Friday.
The National Weather Service (NWS) says a “truncated version” of a tsunami test message was erroneously broadcast as a warning on Alaska’s emergency alert system.
Typically, the message says it’s a test at the beginning. It’s not clear why the version heard by Alaskans did not say it was a test until the end of the message.
Screenshots of the message were posted on social media.
The National Tsunami Warning Center is a part of the National Weather Service.
Susan Buchanan, a National Weather Service spokeswoman, said the center’s test message was properly coded but somehow re-transmitted in an
abbreviated format. That stripped the test coding and caused activation of the Emergency Alert System that sends messages to TV and radio stations.
A statement posted on the center’s Twitter page said a “routine communications test message” was “misinterpreted” by an unspecified entity, and reiterated that neither Alaska nor the West Coast was under a tsunami warning.
Alaska’s emergency management agency says tsunami-vulnerable communities were notified by the state emergency operations center that there was no threat.
A similar scare occurred in February when NWS officials said there was a glitch during a routine test after some people on the East Coast received what looked like an actual warning on their phones.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)