By Maddy Vitale
When people on the East Coast started their day Tuesday, a tsunami was probably not one of their concerns.
And then around 8:30 a.m., users of the AccuWeather App got a real wakeup call. Tsunami warnings went out to people via phones and other mobile devices on the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.
It was a test by the National Tsunami Warning Center, which is part of the National Weather Service. It was released, according to the National Weather Service, “by at least one private sector company,” but would not say the company, according to a release on the National Weather Service website.
“We are currently looking into why the test message was distributed,” the release said.
The tsunami warning didn’t exactly cause a ripple effect of fear in Ocean City.
“I don’t believe there was any widespread alarm in the community. The city did receive a small number of calls and decided to post messages to assure residents that the tsunami warnings were false,” said Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen.
Police Capt. Steve Ang said the Ocean City police haven’t been inundated with calls, either. But, he said, when a false alarm like one for a tsunami goes out, it can be unnerving, especially when you live near water.
“It appears that it is related to an incident in Alaska last week,” Ang said. “We are not getting crushed by calls about this.”
AccuWeather, a private forecasting company, is putting the blame for the false alarm on the National Weather Service. The NWS is investigating how a test could go out as the real thing.
The National Weather Service issued a statement Tuesday morning saying, “Some users may have received notifications that a tsunami warning is in effect for their area. There are no tsunami warnings in effect at the current time. Again, there are no tsunami warnings in effect.”