December 11, 2023

Californians and others throughout the West Coast have been rattled awake early Thursday morning when a deliberate check of the ShakeAlert earthquake warning system misfired seven hours forward of time.

The messages — every studying “TEST of the earthquake warning system” — blared on telephones at 3:19 a.m. Thursday, startling awake customers of the MyShake app throughout California, Oregon and Washington, based on system directors and quite a few individuals who obtained the messages. The alert got here forward of the deliberate Nice ShakeOut earthquake drill, which was scheduled to happen at 10:19 a.m. Thursday. as a method to arrange the California and different areas of the nation for a large-scale earthquake.

State officers say the purpose of the Shake Out is to encourage individuals to observe earthquake security, and remind residents to maintain their emergency earthquake kits well-stocked. About 10 million individuals are anticipated to take part all through the state, together with faculty youngsters and plenty of workplace employees.

A easy time zone mix-up is guilty for the faulty early-morning check alerts, mentioned Robert de Groot, a member of the U.S. Geological Survey’s ShakeAlert operations workforce.

The messages have been delivered at 10:19 Coordinated Common Time, slightly than Pacific Time. In consequence, they have been despatched seven hours forward of schedule.

“It was only a easy twist within the code,” mentioned de Groot. He added that the issue has since been corrected,

The previously-scheduled alerts for the right time of 10:19 a.m. PT have been nonetheless anticipated to be despatched as deliberate.

The errant messages have been solely despatched to individuals who had downloaded the MyShake app, and who had efficiently put in this system on their telephones. Greater than 1 million individuals throughout the West Coast have put in the app, although it’s unclear how many individuals have accomplished the setup course of, de Groot mentioned.