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Congress / TECHNOLOGY

Record Demand Brings Down Weather Service Website

Website for the National Ocianic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. weather.gov(National Weather Service)

February 3, 2011

The National Weather Service experienced nearly six times its normal volume of Web traffic as a major winter storm moved across the country Sunday night, leading to a slowdown and partial shutdown of its website and NWSChat, the tool the agency uses to communicate with emergency managers across the country, Nextgov.com reported.

The agency began receiving up to 20 million hits an hour on its Weather.gov site starting Sunday evening, compared to the typical rate of 70 million hits per day, said National Weather Service Deputy Director Laura Furgione. The storm is having a far greater impact than most land-falling hurricanes, she said.

By Monday, the "catastrophic" service overload was "severe to the point where we had equipment failures," said NWS Spokesman Curtis Carey. "The volume was so extreme, so historic, that I think the equipment held out for as long" as possible, he said. Read more here.

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