On the first Wednesday of every month, the city of Seaside runs a test of its tsunami warning system.
Today didn't feel like a test.
According to a statement released by the City of Seaside, one alarm went off before the pre-recorded "this is only a test" message—leaving thousands fearing that a real tsunami was only four hours offshore.
Jon Rahl, Seaside's public information officer, says that the cause of the error was likely a crashed server that was thought to be resolved in December. He adds that although today's false alarm was unfortunate, the monthly warning is an important reminder that emergencies like tsunamis can hit at any time.
"We regret the error," Rahl says, "but 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."
Currently, city management and the Seaside police department are working to fix the glitch in the warning system. But, the city maintains that residents should use this, and every warning as an opportunity to take stock of their emergency preparedness.
"Fires, winter storms, a shutdown of Highway 101, these are just a few things beyond a tsunami that could happen here," cautions Rahl. "Taking time every month to do an inventory of emergency supplies and asking yourself what route you would take should disaster strike is something we encourage every citizen to do."