A routine National Weather Service test on Tuesday resulted in a false push notification to mobile phones about a tsunami warning, giving jolt to many residents on the East Coast.
MEMA spokesperson Christopher Besse said that around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service sent out a test Tsunami warning via the Emergency Alert System "that was intended only to go to state warning points and certain other government agencies."
Officials noted that that warning did not go out to the public via the Wireless Emergency Alert System. However, some news and weather services picked up the test message and posted it on social media and in apps.
"The message that was posted to apps and social media, in some cases, did not make it sufficiently clear that this was a test," Besse explained.
The National Weather Service in Taunton reports that "There are no tsunami warnings in effect at the current time. Again, there are no tsunami warnings in effect."
MEMA reports receiving calls from the public asking if there is a Tsunami Warning.
The Weather Service and local media are now posting to social media that it was a test message.
We have been receiving reports that an erroneous tsunami alert across New England. Please note there is NO TSUNAMI THREAT FOR New England.— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) February 6, 2018
MEMA has also shared that same note on their social media platforms.
Officials said it appeared to be an issue with the popular Accuweather app. Accuweather didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.
Jeremy DaRos, of Portland, Maine, said the alert made him "jump" because he lives a stone's throw from the water and was aware of recent spate of small earthquakes that made the alert seem plausible.
"Looking out the window and seeing the ocean puts you in a different frame of mind when you get a tsunami warning," he said. He said that after clicking on the push notification for details he realized it was just a test.
This is the latest in a spate of false alarms in the past month.
A Hawaii state employee mistakenly sent an alert warning of a ballistic missile attack on Jan. 13. And, a malfunction triggered sirens at a North Carolina nuclear power plant on Jan. 19.
Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. All rights reserved.