Reasons for Monday's false tornado warning still unclear - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Reasons for Monday's false tornado warning still unclear

Pink indicates some of the area that received the warning. Red indicates the actual warning threat. Pink indicates some of the area that received the warning. Red indicates the actual warning threat.

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - You saw it on your smartphone Monday night--a tornado warning for your county as a powerful line of thunderstorms was barreling through northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri.

It was a false alarm.

Nearly half of Arkansas' 75 counties received the tornado warning, but was intended for only two counties in southwest corner of the state.

The National Weather Service in Little Rock released a statement shortly after the false alarm was sent over cellular phone towers across the state, detailing that "the message went out to a much larger area" than intended.

"We took at least 3 dozen phone calls."

"The people at N-W-S H-Q that deal with CMAS/WEA have been notified of the problem."

The NWS goes on to say that "it's an automated system and we can't manually input free text messages."

"There is an apparent malfunction with the Weather Emergency Alert System that is operated by FEMA and the F-C-C."

The Wireless Emergency Alert system is still new and experiencing growing pains.

However, it's still considered a reliable way of getting severe weather information.

You can opt out of *most of these alerts by visiting your wireless provider.

Representatives with FEMA say they're investigating the matter.

Any government official with proper clearance and training could've sounded the alarm--from the federal branch all the way down to local levels.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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