No, the South Okanagan isn’t being swallowed by a 100-foot wave.
However, those in the Okanagan who were tuned into their local Weatherradio transmitters on Jan. 5 got quite a scare.
That day, an emergency message was played on the Penticton frequency (162.475 MHz), warning residents of an incoming tsunami.
Weatherradio transmitters broadcast local weather forecasts on low-power frequencies. Those tuned into their local frequency can hear the weather for the next 24 hours, provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
That being said, the government body has since assured a tsunami was not on the way.
Each transmitter system, they explained on Jan. 11, is loaded with a number of short pre-recorded messages, including a set of messages used to announce when weather warnings have been issued.
The announcements are played once the transmitter receives a warning from the storm prediction centre. Then, the warning message is included in the program cycle and will play all day.
“It appears that the configuration file that controls the lineup of forecast messages became corrupted and inserted one of these pre-recorded announcement messages into the regular program cycle – in this case, the message stating that a tsunami alert had been issued.”
Environment Canada explained the configuration file on the Penticton transmitter has been fixed to ensure it transmits the proper messages, going forward.
In the near future, local transmitters may cease to exist entirely. Three of 24 Weatherradio transmitters in B.C. are proposed to be decommissioned. Among them is the Kelowna transmitter, which serves Penticton, Summerland, Lake Country, Vernon, Peachland, Kelowna, Lumby and Douglas Lake.
The Kamloops FM and Chilliwack transmitters are also proposed to be decommissioned.
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