Computer glitch prevents severe weather alerts in Northeast

by: John Ahrens Updated:


Severe storms hit the Northeast Thursday, but there were no warnings from the National Weather Service.

Channel 9 has learned that a computer glitch put lives at risk for more than half an hour.

Meagan Ingley was getting ready to head out for a run when the hail started falling without warning.

“I don’t like being caught off guard. This came out of nowhere for me,” Ingley said, who lives in Crofton, MD.

The National Weather Service issued an alert for the hail in suburban Maryland, but computer problems mean nobody saw it.

It wasn’t just Ingley who didn’t receive an alert on her phone. For more than 30 minutes no National Weather Service alerts when out to phones, Internet, TV or radio stations in the entire country.

Steve Prichett has worked as a meteorologist at the National Weather Service for nearly 40 years and worries what could have happened if a tornado formed.

“This was a national outage of our infrastructure,” Prichett said.
Prichett is with the National Weather Service Employees Organization and said the weather service isn't doing enough to maintain infrastructure.

“We live or die for the protection of life or property that we don't have the technology to get these out when they're needed somebody's going to die,” Prichett said.

Channel 9 asked the National Weather Service about the outage.

A spokesman said, “At least some products were delayed or may not have been disseminated through normal channels, prompting forecasters to alert the public and emergency management officials through other means."

Weather service officials took to Twitter, email and phones to try to get the updates out.

Ingley finally got a weather warning on her phone at 4:45 p.m. once the system was back working, but after the storm had passed