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Homeland Security glitch sends 'evacuate now' alert to Minnesotans

At least two county sheriff departments are being inundated with calls.
Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 8.59.45 AM

Some people in northern Minnesota received a scare Wednesday morning when an emergency alert warning residents to "evacuate now" was sent by error. 

No one was in danger but the alert from Homeland Security Emergency Management popped up just after 8 a.m. for some people in Itasca and St. Louis counties.  

The also went out to residents in Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, and Pine counties.

"Please disregard a text that was sent from Homeland Security Emergency Management (HSEM) stating that you should evacuate immediately. Our dispatch center is being inundated with calls regarding this," said Itasca County Sheriff Vic Williams. 

"Our office is sending word that this text received by citizens was sent in error. Again, please disregard."

On Facebook, the Itasca County Sheriff's Office said HSEM "had a glitch in their system" and they are aware of the mistake. 

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The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office said the City of Floodwood and other communities were sent the false emergency alert. 

"There is no evacuation order in place, nor any reason to do so," the sheriff's office said. 

HSEM's weekly public alert test was sent out beyond the test environment, and further complicating the situation was the fact that the "this is a test" portion of the message was cut off. 

KSTP reports that some residents in Aitkin, Carlton, Cass and Pine counties also received the alert. 

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