NOAAPORT Backup Facility for Unexpected Outages
Winter-Spring 2007

May 1, 2007

Executive Overview

NOAAPORT Backup IDD Service Request

From: Gilbert Sebenste <>
Date: Tue, 01 May 2007 11:19:54 CDT
To: Unidata IDD Support <>

From Tue May 1 10: 19:55 2007

Although the NOAAport feed is generally very reliable, as was proven on a Saturday in mid-April, outages can occur due to unforseen circumstances. As a result, important data can be lost to the research and educational community. In this case, a tornado outbreak in Texas was occurring when the data outage occurred. Because there is no raw data recovery possible from the NWS Telecommunications Gateway, all data during the two hour outage was lost.

Not related to UNIDATA but of even more significance was the lack of tornado warnings to the general public who did not have NOAA All-Hazards radio. Many media outlets remained blank for warnings and severe weather statements during the outage. The frequently, incorrectly used phrase "it came without warning" became true in this case, despite forecaster-issued warnings that were otherwise very timely, from storm chasers in the field who were watching the events of that day.

With several Universities and the National Climatic Data Center archiving data, having a landline backup in case the satellite feed goes down is not only prudent, but potentially life-saving. And to scientists in the research community, data that would have been lost could contain nuggets of data that bring us better understanding of a weather event, and how to predict it better in the future. This would occur if a landline backup was in place, such as sending the NOAAport and other feeds via the Internet/Internet2, and by using the free LDM software to relay it.

Gilbert Sebenste ********
(My opinions only!) ******
Staff Meteorologist, Northern Illinois University ****


by Tom Yoksas