NOAA to Test Humboldt County Tsunami Warning System on Mar. 26

Broadcasters, Cable Systems Cautioned Live Codes to Be Used

March 19, 2008

NOAA’s National Weather Service, in collaboration with the California Office of Emergency Services and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office, will conduct a test of the tsunami warning system in coastal Humboldt County, Calif., between 10:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Wed., Mar. 26.

During the test, live tsunami warning codes will be broadcast on radio and television stations in Humboldt County. It is very important that the public be informed of this test ahead of time so they do not mistake the test for a real tsunami warning.

The NOAA National Weather Service office in Eureka will initiate this test by activating the Emergency Alert System for Humboldt County. This test of the tsunami warning system will involve NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards, local TV and radio stations and other local communication sources. People listening to the radio should hear the familiar alerting tone followed by an audio message describing the test, similar to the routine monthly tests of the Emergency Alert System.

Some television systems are programmed to scroll a standard, pre-composed message based upon the emergency code received. Because a live tsunami warning code will be used, the message on the screen may not contain the word “TEST.” The television audio message accompanying the crawler will explain it as a test. If the volume is turned down, viewers may not realize the warning is only a test. People watching television during the test should expect to see the following words crawl across the bottom or top of the screen:

“The National Weather Service in Eureka has issued a Tsunami Warning for Humboldt County.”

The public can participate in the test by monitoring their local TV and radio stations, or their NOAA Weather Radio, and providing feedback online. It is especially important that tsunami test monitors who DO NOT receive the test message via commercial radio or NOAA Weather Radio inform their local National Weather Service office by providing feedback at the above Web site.

This test of the tsunami warning system will include activation of the Emergency Alert System as if it were a real tsunami. The goal is to ensure the Emergency Alert System will function properly when it is activated for a real tsunami emergency. This is the first such test in Calif., and is only being conducted in Humboldt County. Officials will evaluate the success of the test and correct any problems in the Tsunami Warning System.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.