'Glitch' caused false Tornado Watch alert across St. Louis area
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- The National Weather Service did some fast backtracking Wednesday morning when a tornado watch was sent out on social media. The alert was for several counties in both Missouri and Illinois.
The National Weather Service office in Weldon Spring said the watch that was sent was more than four years old and was created during a storm in April of 2010.
The technical bug came from the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma and sent out old watch alerts across the country. The message wasn't broadcast on NOAA weather radios, but it was blasted on any automatic method of sending out watches, like Facebook and Twitter.
“Automation is fantastic,” explained Jim Kramper, with the National Weather Service. “We can click a button and boom it goes out to millions of people. Well, unfortunately that's the same for something that's not supposed to go out.”
The cause of the sudden burst of old information has not been pinpointed by the NWS. Within minutes of the false alert, the St. Louis branch of the National Weather Service sent out a retraction, blaming technical difficulties for the false information.
“Errors have been made or something happened. We put it on Facebook, we put it on Twitter, on our NWS chat system. So we tried to just immediately blanket it out as many places as we can so people know it's a glitch,” Kramper added.
The National Weather Service said it is working to resolve the issue and should any kind of watch or warning need to be issued, the system is in working order to send that out.