Folks in Alaska get false tsunami alert

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Many Alaska residents were mistakenly warned on TV and on the radio Friday morning of a tsunami threat along the West Coast of the United States, from San Diego to Alaska’s Aleutian islands.

The alert said at the end of a nearly two-minute long message that it was a test. But not all listeners and viewers received that information, officials said.

The National Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat. It said the message was a routine test sent at about 7 a.m.

Susan Buchanan, a National Weather Service spokeswoman, said the center’s test message was coded properly but somehow re-transmitted in an abbreviated format. That stripped the test coding and caused activation of the Emergency Alert System that sends messages to TV and radio stations.

She said it’s not clear why that happened, the agency was investigating and could not immediately provide further details. The tsunami warning center is part of the National Weather Service.

A real tsunami warning in Alaska earlier this year included alerts sent to cellphones, something that didn’t happen Friday.