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Weather Cause Headaches for Plague EAS Test

But many stations reported smooth sailing

WASHINGTON�TheFederal Emergency Management Agencyconducted an IPAWS/EAS test Feb. 24 2:20 p.m. (EST) intended to cover 22 states, two territories and the District of Columbia.�

However, when push came to shove, six states were dropped from the test with little to no warning to participants due to concerns about real weather activity.�

In Florida, authorities cancelled the participation in the test due to severe weather. A cancellation notification was sent via email to Florida Association of Broadcasters members, but non-members were not notified, apparently.

There was also miscommunication in Alabama, where the anticipated test was not delivered.

Al Kenyon, the technical lead for IPAWS, confirmed that Florida, North Carolina and Virginia were dropped from the test at the request of the respective state emergency management agencies; and that Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi were dropped upon the recommendation of the National Weather Service due to on-going recovery activities in those states following overnight severe weather.

Nonetheless, the test went off without a hitch for stations in many states and Washington, D.C., although some reported network delays and poor audio quality.

FEMA also announced the date of the next national EAS test at this week�s National Alliance of State Broadcast Association�s Annual EAS Forum. It will test national EAS using an NPT event code message on Sept. 28, 2016. The first such test was in late 2011 and its results and next steps have been discussed in detail by alerting officials since, with an eye toward an eventual second effort.�

A version of this story originally appeared on Radio magazine sister publication Radio World�s website.