Tsunami warning test causes scare in Houston area


One day after that false warning of a coming tsunami rocked Americans along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, two of the principals at the center are engaged in a storm of finger-pointing.

Tsunami warnings are handled with the utmost concern, AccuWeather said, and it has sophisticated algorithms to scan the entire message, not just header words, as from the time of a warning to the actual event can be mere minutes. The back-and-forth only added to the confusion about why and how AccuWeather customers throughout the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean wound up with a tsunami warning that wasn't real.

The AccuWeather app also tweeted out a clarification, telling its users: "The National Weather Service Tsunami Warning this morning was a TEST". The weather service's statement ended on a conciliatory note. "A headline. said this message is for testing purposes only".

AccuWeather, the commercial forecasting system that on Tuesday morning launched a volley of alerts customized for seaside communities from ME to Matagorda Island, doubled-down Wednesday on its assertion that the National Weather Service triggered the panic by fouling up the coding for what was supposed to be a routine test message.

He said the National Weather Service is trying to sort what happened.

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"AccuWeather was correct in reading the mistaken NWS codes embedded in the warning", Accuweather press release stated. "The responsibility is on the NWS to properly and consistently code the messages, for only they know if the message is correct or not", the company said in a statement. While the words "TEST" were in the header, the actual codes read by computers used coding indicating it was a real warning. "We will continue to work with our partners to prevent this from occurring again".

So far the National Weather Service has not responded to Accuweather's statement, only saying on their website that they are looking into the test message.

National Weather Service locations in major coastal areas in Florida report users received the alert.

The alerts came the month after the state of Hawaii mistakenly warned residents of the islands of an inbound missile, sparking panic.