National Weather Service says emergency warning was false alarm

National Weather Service says emergency warning was false alarm
Source: KSLA
Source: KSLA
Source: KTRE
Source: KTRE

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - On Wednesday, four counties in East Texas received a false warning from the National Weather Service Office in Shreveport.

The alert stated a radiological hazard warning was in place for Angelina, Nacogdoches, San Augustine, and Cherokee counties.

"We're going to review our procedures that we used to issue this product to see if there's anything that we can do to keep this from happening in the future," said NWS head meteorologist, Mario Valverde. "If we find something, we're going to change it because, yeah, it did cause a lot of angst for people today."

The following is the statement released by the National Weather Service.

National Weather Service:

The routine Wednesday morning NOAA Weather Radio Test inadvertently transmitted as a Radiological Hazard Warning this morning.

At 11 am, the Shreveport National Weather Service erroneously and inadvertently transmitted the routine NOAA Weather Radio Wednesday morning communications test under an incorrect header that triggered the Specific Area Message Encoder to display an incorrect Radiological Hazard Warning. 

The proper Specific Area Message Encoder to display for the routine weekly NOAA Weather Radio Communications test during each Wednesday morning between 11 and noon is Routine Weekly Test. The correct communications test message was rebroadcast at 11:10 am this Wednesday morning with the proper Routine Weekly Test.

The National Weather Service regrets any inconveniences to our listening audience.

In Angelina County, emergency management coordinator Ricky Connor remembered hearing the alert coming through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's weather radio.

"I wanted to know what was going on so I started checking with my other emergency management officials and it was long enough for me to contact Nacogodoches, tried to contact Cherokee County because it was only for four counties," said Connor.

Connor said that he received multiple calls from worried citizens who also shared his confusion with the warning.

"When I saw that I thought that was odd," said Connor. "You know if it was a radiological event. It's going to be include, to me I would think it would include everywhere.">

The NWS has yet to put forth a reason for the mistake, but Connor has his opinion.

"Someone's hacked into whatever system and has put this out there to scare people," said Connor.

In Connor's 10 years of serving with Angelina Emergency Preparedness, he said that he's never seen a mistake like this.

"Everyone we get from the national weather service is legit," said Connor. "You know, whether it's severe whether, you know, high winds, tornadoes, hurricanes."

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