Twitter hack silenced National Weather Service in Illinois as tornado loomed

Twitter’s response to an unprecedented hack reportedly muzzled a National Weather Service office in Illinois — just as a tornado loomed over the area.

The weather service’s Lincoln, Illinois branch was among the verified users who were blocked from tweeting after hackers took over the profiles of several celebrities and politicians.

That meant forecasters couldn’t share crucial updates about the tornado that threatened to hammer parts of the state Wednesday evening, the Daily Beast reported.

“The problem is if somebody relies on just one method to get their info, there’s a single point of failure, they won’t get that warning,” Chris Miller, a warning coordination meteorologist, told the outlet. “That has the potential to put them in danger.”

The weather office was apparently able to retweet its tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings from a separate account that publishes its alerts. The account was finally unlocked after several hours late Wednesday, according to The Daily Beast.

Miller told the website that he hadn’t “been given any explanation” for the lockdown even though the National Weather Service headquarters asked Twitter to restore the account.

A Twitter spokesman referred to the company’s Wednesday statement about the hack, which said it limited functionality for all verified accounts while it investigated the attack in which hackers tweeted cryptocurrency scams from accounts owned by Elon Musk, Kanye West, Barack Obama and others.

“This was disruptive, but it was an important step to reduce risk,” Twitter said in the statement.

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