Tsunami warning system test scheduled for Wednesday

WCATWC

Winter view of West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Alaska’s tsunami warning communications system will be tested as part of Tsunami Preparedness Week.

The test will occur sometime between 9:45 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. Wednesday. It may be heard or seen on radio or televisions stations around the state, and on NOAA weather radio.

Some video messages may not specify that Wednesday’s message is a test, although the audio should clearly specify that it is only a test.

Paul Whitmore, director of the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, says they’ll start the test by sending out a dummy or test message.

And so, that tests, basically, the plumbing of the system all the way through from generation here at the Warning Center to activation at the (National Weather Service) forecast offices, and then through propagation through the broadcasters in the Emergency Alert System.”

The test will be cancelled if excessive earthquake activity is already underway.

If you live in a coastal area, you can provide feedback on the test by going online at ready.alaska.gov/survey

Activities for Tsunami Preparedness Week include a tsunami exercise on Wednesday and an open house at the Palmer center on Saturday afternoon.

The 49th anniversary of the Good Friday earthquake is Wednesday, March 27th.

 
Wednesday, March 27th 9:30 a.m. update:

Whitmore says they constantly monitor about 600 stations around the world for possible activity. If an earthquake is detected and it meets certain criteria, then Whitmore says they’ll immediately issue a warning. Then, as more data comes in, they’ll continuously refine their modeling for any potential waves and revise their warnings.


As an example of some of their criteria used in issuing tsunami warnings, Whitmore says they may immediately issue a warning for parts of the Alaska coastline if they detect a North Pacific earthquake of  7.0 magnitude or greater that’s centered near the coast or just offshore, and is not located too deep.

 
Wednesday, March 27th 11:30 a.m. update:

EAS test occurred at 9:53 a.m. AKDT

EAS test as received by 360North/Gavel Alaska television through GCI cable. The test message was not rebroadcast though KTOO, KRNN, or KXLL FM in Juneau. But KTOO engineers have already identified potential fixes for proper relay of emergency alerts. Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO News

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