Tsunami warning message issued in Seaside, city says it was a mistake

The Tsunami Blue Line project helps local communities to mark tsunami evacuation routes and install new tsunami evacuation signs. (SBG photo)

SEASIDE, Ore. – A tsunami test proved to be a false alarm for Seaside residents Wednesday after it played the wrong message, incorrectly telling people a giant wave was on the way.

Warning sirens across the town started up about 11 a.m. and played the message “there will be a tsunami coming in four hours.” It stopped after a few minutes.

A city spokesperson said they had no way of stopping the incorrect message once it started, as it had to play on all ten sirens positioned through the town.

"We regret the error," Jon Rahl, public information officer for the city, said in a news release. "It's also a reminder of why we do these tests and run them throughout the year. Tests give us the opportunity to evaluate what's working, and in this case what's not. City management and the Seaside Police Department, where the message system resides, are working together to continually improve the system and we learned today that we have several improvements to make that we will begin working on immediately."

Some Seaside residents tell KATU News the message sent many people into a panic as they started packing for an evacuation.

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