Misleading 'tsunami warning' alert sent out to parts of east coast

Earlier this month, residents of the West Coast were warned to brace for possible tsunami after an quake off the coast of Alaska. That meant some people received what looked like an actual warning on their phones.

The error seems to have been the fault of AccuWeather, as the company's app apparently flagged the routine monthly warning as genuine, sending it out to users with notifications enabled. Even AccuWeather has said now that the warning was a test but it didn't explain why its app had pushed it out as a genuine alert earlier today.

A U.S. private forecasting company took a routine National Weather Service test message and sent it to people's phones as an official tsunami warning on Tuesday morning. The message credited the National Weather Service.

Pfaff said that he was not sure how many people were affected by the alert but, "I think it was a lot based on the response".

The NWS sent out an alert around 8:30 a.m. stating there was one in effect.

Several Accuweather users reported receiving the alert.

Turns out the text alerts that were sent out were actually part of a test that conveniently forgot to mention it was a test.

A test of those alerts failed in January, after Hawaii officials accidentally warned residents about an incoming ballistic missile, sparking widespread panic - and, later, a federal investigation.

The National Weather Service made clear that a legitimate tsunami warning was not put out by the agency and that it is investigating the situation.

There were reports of alerts having been sent to other places as well.

A recorded voicemail statement at the National Weather Service in Silver Spring, Maryland, provided a little more detail.