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Image credit: Cherlynn Low

Botched tsunami warning test is the latest false alarm

This mistaken alert is only a few weeks removed from the Hawaii missile warning debacle.
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An example of the errant tsunami alert sent to an unknown number of east coast residents. Cherlynn Low

It's only been a few weeks since a false warning told Hawaiians that a missile attack was headed for their state, but another mistaken alert has been sent out into the world. Earlier this morning, an emergency tsunami alert was issued to East Coast residents via the widely-used Accuweather service. According to various tweets, the alert stretched as far north as Portland, Maine; an Engadget editor much further south in Jersey City also received the alert. Accuweather confirmed in a tweet that the original alert was a "test," though it certainly wasn't presented to those alerted in that fashion.

While the full details of the alert said it was a test, the notification that hit people's home screens made no such notice of that fact. As such, it was understandably alarming to those that received the alert. Since then, various national weather service Twitter accounts also have confirmed that there's no tsunami warning in effect, including the official NWS tsunami alerts account:

As of now, there's still no word as to how or why this false alert went out. But the timing is particularly ironic: This morning, there's a congressional hearing on the effectiveness of mobile alerts in emergencies. Between today's gaff and the Hawaii missile emergency alert, it's clear that things could stand to be tightened up with how these alerts are released.

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