Officials: Software issue to blame for false alarm evacuation alert in northern Minnesota

Officials say a false alarm evacuation alert sent to northern Minnesota residents Wednesday was due to a software issue.

Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management reviewed the inadvertent message sent to cell phones of people in Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, Itasca, Pine and St. Louis Counties Wednesday morning and determined it was a software malfunction as part of a weekly test.

According to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, the portion of the message saying, “this is a test,” was cut off, further complicating matters.

The department says the message was marked as an internal test, but the software did not recognize it as such. HSEM is now working with the software vendor to fix the problem.

HSEM says it conducts these test messages every week, but this is the first time it was accidentally sent to the public.