Warning test sparks a wave of phone calls

'Tsunami' alert product of new equipment at AT&T Broadband

A tsunami or tidal wave warning that flashed across television screens late Thursday afternoon had area residents calling the National Weather Service, the State Patrol and local radio station.

But the tidal wave warning actually stemmed from AT&T Broadband in Craig, which was installing new alert

system equipment and was conducting a test, said

Tom Cotton, general manager of AT&T Broadband in

Craig.

"Whenever we do a local test it comes out over the cable system," he said.

Cotton said the message that flashed on people's television screens indicated that it was a test. But several people must have missed that message.

The State Patrol received about a dozen phone calls from local residents asking about a tsunami as and the National Weather Service in Grand Junction said it had received about a half dozen calls.

"Our phone lines just lit up," said Frank Hanel, owner of KRAI FM/55 Country in Craig.

Moffat County Emergency Manager Clyde Anderson said some people calling the Sheriff's Department were aware that a tsunami was probably not likely in Northwest Colorado but were concerned that it might mean something else.

"People were thinking it must be an earthquake warning," Anderson said. "But there's no such thing as an earthquake warning."

Jim Pringle with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction answered calls from those asking about a tsunami.

"A tsunami is equivalent to a title wave induced by an earthquake under the ocean," he said.

While tsunami warnings occur mostly in coastal regions, Pringle would not say it was impossible for Northwest Colorado to get hit

by a tsunami.

"It depends on the size of the asteroid that hits and causes

it," he said.

The improbable chance of a tsunami in Colorado is why

AT&T broadband chose to flash that on the screen for the test, Cotton

said.

"We figured we would do a tsunami because we thought, "Who would think a tsunami would happen in Northwest Colorado?'"

Apparently a few people did.

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