A test alert from the National Weather Service was accidentally shared publicly
It issued a tsunami warning for parts of the Northwest
The service quickly noted the post was a mistake
Some mobile and Web users got a disconcerting warning on Wednesday when digital alerts incorrectly showed a tsunami may be headed toward the coast.
A National Weather Service message, that was meant as a test, instead appeared on the service’s website and was pushed to mobile apps that rely on it for information.
AccuWeather’s app was among those that sent a tsunami warning to users in parts of California and Washington.
“AccuWeather sent out an automatic alert to our App users, – a programmed message to get this warning out as quickly as possible,” said Evan Myers, chief operating officer of AccuWeather. “We subsequently determined that this was a test message from the National Weather Service and that the warning was not real.”
The service’s office in Seattle confirmed as much, tweeting: “A test message for a Tsunami Information statement is showing on our website. This is only a test. There is no tsunami threat.”
“We have retweeted NWS’ clarification via social media,” Myers said via email. “We apologize for any confusion regarding this test message. We are committed to providing critical life-saving information in a timely manner.”
While the scare was addressed quickly, that didn’t stop some social-media users from freaking out a little bit in the meantime.
“THIS IS A TEST. We’ve got a few folks calling in and freaking out about this message,” Seth Wayne, a weather forecaster for Seattle’s KOMO, wrote on Twitter.
The National Weather Service bulletin was sent at 9:30 a.m. PDT (12:30 p.m. ET).