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Tsunami alert startles East and Gulf coasts

Joseph A. Gambardello and Anthony R. Wood, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Weather News

In its statement, AccuWeather said that the weather service warning did contain the word "TEST" in the header but that the "the actual codes read by computers used coding for real warning, indicating it was a real warning."

The company said similar errors had occurred previously and that it had registered a written complaint with the weather service in October 2014.

Verizon referred requests for comment to the weather service.

Although rare, tsunamis resulting from earthquakes and possibly powerful storms evidently have occurred along the Mid-Atlantic coast.

In June 2013, a strong outrush tide carried water rapidly seaward from Barnegat Inlet, followed by a 6-foot wave that spanned the width of the inlet, sweeping three people off a jetty, two of whom required medical treatment.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Tsunami Warning Center determined that the wave was a minor tsunami, coinciding with a strong windstorm over the Jersey Shore.

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