City of Lake Worth issue ‘zombie alert’ after power outage.
The Palm Beach Post reported that city administrators appeared to send a text alert to all residents around 1:45am Sunday that read “power outage and zombie alert for residents of Lake Worth and Terminus”.
“There are now far less than seven thousand three hundred and eighty customers involved due to extreme zombie activity. Restoration time uncertain,” the alert read in all capital letters and red lettering.
Terminus is the name of the city in the popular television show The Walking Dead.
Power was out in the city of Lake Worth, for approximately 27 minutes for the 7,880 customers however Ben Kerr, the city’s public information officer assured residents: “I want to reiterate that Lake Worth does not have any zombie activity currently and apologize for the system message”.
According to a community Facebook page called Lake Worth Live, the push alert about the power outage was meant to be sent out but the inclusion of “zombie activity” was not.
— The Palm Beach Post (@pbpost) May 21, 2018
City officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether it was a prank or someone had hacked the city’s notification system.
This is not the first time a push alert has caused panic.
In February 2018, a tsunami warning was sent to those in Palm Beach County, in Florida. The message was just a “test” sent out by the Tsunami Warning Center in Alaska.
However, even Accuweather – a forecasting company – was confused and sent out real alerts to local areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
“It was a test. It says ‘test’ in the headline. It says ‘test’ twice. It even says it in Spanish,” said Robert Molleda, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Miami office had told the Palm Beach Post at the time. But, a look at the push alert showed most users did not get the “test” message until a series of clicks.
Perhaps the most devastating false push alert from state authorities was sent in January of this year to residents of Hawaii.
All mobile phones on the islands had received an emergency alert from the state saying they had just 15 minutes to find shelter before an intercontinental ballistic missile would hit. The US had been experiencing tension with and threats from North Korea at the time.
While some public officials had rushed to tweet out that it was a false alarm, the official state push alert on to everyone’s mobile phones was a tense 38 minutes after the initial message.