published Monday, August 12th, 2013

Walker County tornado warning was system glitch and other stories from areas aroiund Chattanooga

Tornado warning was system glitch

WALKER COUNTY, Ga. — Amidst a storm Thursday night, some Walker County residents received a jarring alert: A tornado warning, throughout the area.

The problem was, it wasn’t true. The National Weather Service never issued a tornado warning for Walker County. Flash flooding, yes. Strong winds came, yes. But no tornado.

Walker County Coordinator David Ashburn said Friday that the false alarm arose because of a glitch in the system. It has been fixed, he said, and it won’t happen again.

The county partners with a company called Hyper-Reach to send out the warnings. In the past, county representatives told Hyper-Reach employees only to send an alert during tornado warnings. But the partnership has recently changed, and the county told Hyper-Reach to now send alerts for both potential flash flooding and tornadoes.

That is why the problem occurred Thursday night, Ashburn said.

“Some guy punching keys somewhere failed to change the one that said, ‘tornado,’” according to Ashburn.

So, when Hyper-Reach was supposed to send alerts about flash flooding, it sent a tornado warning. The company corrected the problem Friday morning, Ashburn said.


Two cited after animals die

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Police in Oak Ridge say a woman moved about three years ago and left nine animals to starve to death in her house.

The Oak Ridger reported police charged 56-year-old Annette M. Wright and her 90-year-old father, Hillman Nelson Wright, with nine counts each of animal cruelty.

City police began an investigation last week. After going inside while wearing a cloth mask, Animal Control Officer Randy Profitt requested the fire department respond with protective gear.

Police said Annette Wright told them she left seven dogs and two birds in the house when she had a medical issue and moved in with her father.

The charges are misdemeanors, and the Wrights were not booked into the jail.


Y-12 to conduct exercise

The Y-12 National Security Complex is planning an emergency management exercise next week that will include sirens and simulated response by federal, state and local officials.

The Wednesday exercise is part of an effort by the U.S. Department of Energy to test the readiness of emergency personnel at the Oak Ridge facility.

Security at the nuclear weapons plant was called into question after an octogenarian nun and two fellow protesters intruded into the complex last year and defaced the walls of a uranium processing plant. The trio were convicted in May of interfering with national security and damaging federal property.

Next week’s exercise will include an emergency alert system test message by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

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