AccuWeather Blames the National Weather Service for Miscoded NWS Tsunami Warning

Hurricane Newton Baja California 09-2016
Hurricane Newton moving across the Baja California region of Mexico on Sept. 6, 2016. (AccuWeather)

AccuWeather-(ENEWSPF)- AccuWeather says it has further reviewed recent National Weather Service statements related to the miscoded NWS tsunami warning of February 6, and stands by its original conclusion. “It seems clear that the NWS codes were the problem,” AccuWeather said in a statement.

“When AccuWeather users clicked on the NWS tsunami warning on the AccuWeather properties they saw that the message was a ‘Test.’ The AccuWeather computer issued the NWS warning because the NWS computer coding indicated it was either real or a test. The NWS coding was conflicted,” the statement continues.

According to AccuWeather, the National Weather Service carried the warning itself on a page on its own website and it was not marked as a “Test.” Other sources show that The Weather Channel/IBM also sent this out on its devices, and television stations in some areas ran a crawl showing it as a warning. These were all sourced from the National Weather Service and unrelated to AccuWeather. This proves the point that the NWS coding was defective and resulted in numerous sources picking this up as a real warning.

“The NWS itself further compounded the issue when it issued a second ‘corrected’ warning that was not in the standard format, but did correct the original coding error,” AccuWeather claims. “The second corrected, but miss-formatted tsunami warning is believed to be responsible for the additional tsunami warnings published by some other companies after the initial wave of warnings.

“The coding of the initial tsunami warning bulletin from the NWS contained incorrect coding and offered conflicting interpretations – one element of the coding showed this was an actual warning, while another showed this might be a test. To suggest that the AccuWeather system should have interpreted the warning as a test would put lives at risk when people might have only minutes to react to a tsunami, if it was a real warning. With such conflicting coding by NWS, the AccuWeather system defaulted to the interpretation to save lives rather than place lives at risk.”

AccuWeather says it has urged on the record, since at least 2014, this problem be corrected by NWS.