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The Nation : The Tornado That Wasn't

March 03, 1987

A National Weather Service bulletin that erroneously said that Rockford, Ill., had been demolished by a tornado was sent to hundreds of Midwest radio and television stations and read on the air by some announcers. Five minutes later, a disclaimer was sent explaining that the bulletin was transmitted by mistake, meteorologist Steve Kahn said in Chicago. The bulletin was part of a test to prepare for the upcoming tornado season, and was designed only for weather service personnel. Rockford, 86 miles northwest of Chicago, has a population of about 140,000.

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