By Aaron Pressman
September 17, 2018

President’s Donald Trump’s planned test of a new federal system for sending text messages to tens of millions of American’s has been delayed two weeks due to the severe weather from Hurricane Florence.

The test of the Wireless Emergency Alert system, originally scheduled for Sept. 20, is now planned for Oct. 3 at 2:18 p.m. EDT, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Monday. The test message will carry a header saying it is a “Presidential Alert” and will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The system was created over the past few years by FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission as a way for the federal government to issue warnings from the President about emergency situations. Some reports have touted the system as a way for President Trump to issue political messages, but there is no evidence of the system being misused and all alerts must go through FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System.

The emergency message from the system will resemble the Amber alerts for missing children that sometimes simultaneously hit all cellphones in a local area. All four major cariers-AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint-have compatible systems to distribute the alert, though some older phones and certain areas of the carrier’s networks aren’t capable of participating in the system.

FEMA has tested a related system three times before, called the Emergency Alert System, which goes out over all participating broadcast media, including over-the-air, cable, and satellite television, and terrestrial and satellite radio.

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