Officials to Test Tsunami Warning System in Alaska

 NOAA’s National Weather Service, the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Alaska Broadcasters Association plan to conduct a test of the tsunami warning communications system on Wednesday, March 29, at approximately 10:15 a.m. Alaska Daylight Time in coastal areas of southern Alaska. This test will be conducted for portions of coastal communities in Southeast Alaska, the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak, the Aleutians and Pribilofs. People in Anchorage may see or hear that a tsunami warning has been issued for the Kenai Peninsula.

The emergency test will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, as well as local television and radio stations along the southern coast of Alaska.  Residents in some communities may hear warning sirens. Some television systems are programmed to scroll a standard emergency alert text message and, in some cases, the message may not contain the word “TEST.” An audio message will state that the message is only a test, but if the audio is unheard, viewers may not realize the message is only a test.

 To avoid confusion with an actual alert the test will be canceled if there is excessive seismic activity within 24 hours prior to the test.  

 The test is part of Tsunami Preparedness Week, March 26 to April 1. The test is conducted annually during the same week as the Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami of 1964, which killed more than 130 people in Alaska, Oregon and California.  Officials promote tsunami safety and awareness and urge coastal residents and visitors to prepare themselves and their families for a tsunami. Tsunami.gov offers complete information, including the current status of tsunami warnings, advisories and watches. A list of frequently asked tsunami questions and answers as well as tsunami safety rules and other educational materials can be found on the site as well.

Test organizers are asking coastal Alaskans to provide feedback after the test at ready.alaska.gov.

On the Web:

NOAA’s National Tsunami Warning Center: tsunami.gov

Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management: ready.alaska.gov

Alaska Broadcasters Association: alaskabroadcasters.org.

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