Emergency Management Director on AccuWeather’s False Tsunami Alert: ‘At No Time Was There Any Risk to New Canaan’

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The head of emergency management in New Canaan is decrying a false mobile alert this morning from the AccuWeather app that notified users of a “Tsunami Warning.”

Here’s a screen grab of the AccuWeather notification from the morning of Feb. 6, 2018.

Advances in science mean that severe weather events can be better predicted, and technology has improved communication and preparedness, according to Emergency Management Director Mike Handler.

Yet “all of these efforts are undermined when the public loses trust in the chain of communication.”

“This morning’s event involved an 8:28 am AccuWeather Severe Weather Alert that was apparently released in error. After consulting with the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, I learned that the National Weather Service conducted a proper test that included the appropriate indications that it was in fact a test. This test message was somehow picked up by Accuweather and pushed out via their notification app. At no time was there any risk to New Canaan and we continue to follow up with the State to fully understand what happened and to ensure that this type of error does not get repeated. Had this been a true emergency, I assure that the New Canaan Office of Emergency Management would have immediately notified the public, as is its normal practice.”

It wasn’t immediately clear how many people received the warning, according to NBC News.

Officials at the National Weather Service have said one “private sector company”—presumably AccuWeather—pushed out the notification, resulting in reports of a tsunami warning throughout much of the eastern seaboard of the United States as well as Mexico and the Caribbean, NBC said.

Locals know Handler as the reassuring voice on town-wide calls about storm preparation, power outages, road closures and shelters during severe weather events such as blizzards.

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