SEATTLE — Tornado Warnings meant for people in Kitsap County were sent to people outside the area, including Seattle. The National Weather Service (NWS) said this happened because of how these types of alerts are distributed.
"NO TORNADO warnings for Seattle!" the NWS tweeted Tuesday after receiving reports of alerts on people's phones outside the warning area.
The Tornado Warnings for portions of central and north Kitsap County were eventually canceled around noon, shortly after the storm weakened and no longer appeared capable of producing a tornado.
A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been seen or indicated by weather radar, and that there is imminent danger to life or property.
The Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management also issued a shelter in place warning.
The warnings all went through the Wireless Emergency Alerts system for mobile devices.
Wireless Emergency Alerts, according to a statement from the NWS, may be received outside the targeted area because they are broadcast from towers in and around the area.
"This strategy maximizes delivery to mobile phones in the targeted alert area, but can cause overshoot where the WEA message is received outside the alert area," according to the NWS.
Newer cellphones, according to the NWS, help eliminate the "overshoot" of warnings. Citing the wireless industry, one-third of active smartphones support enhanced geotargeting that reduce the chances of receiving an alert from outside the targeted area.
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