Alert system malfunction during tornado drill causes confusion

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Wireless Emergency Alert was sent to your phone early Tuesday morning said there was a tornado warning. That was not the case. Instead, it was part of a statewide tornado drill. However, this did cause some confusion.

Steve Runnels, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield, said the alert from this morning should have had “test” wording in it but it was removed.

The National Weather Service Headquarters said in a tweet Tuesday, “A new software implemented last week mistakenly allowed the test to go out over WEA as an actual warning. The software is fixed”.

Here is the full statement from the National Weather Service:

While this did cause some confusion across the state, Runnels said there is one positive outcome.

“Come Springtime, we will send out the real thing so it is good to know that those tornado warnings do reach people’s cell phones as well as weather radios and other numerous ways in order to get emergency information.”

Steve Runnels, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service Springfield

National Weather Services offices across the region were quick to respond to the issue and let everyone know this was only a test and there was no apparent threat.

This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Missouri and a statewide tornado drill is part of that. Each day will focus on a different topic to help you prepare for the upcoming season.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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