NWS marine weather buoy

U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Flood Knocks U.S. Buoy Data Offline

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 4353
March 15, 2021

A flood at the U.S. National Weather Service’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland has knocked out power to servers processing NOAA’s marine buoy data, rendering the data inaccessible to the public.

A timeline for when the data will be restored has not yet been determined.

The NOAA National Data Buoy Center’s mission is to provide quality observations in the marine environment in a safe and sustainable manner to support the understanding of and predictions to changes in weather, climate, oceans and coast, according to the NDBC website.

The NDBC operates a network of offshore automated weather buoys and Coastal-Marine Automated Network stations that provide hourly reports of marine weather to the National Weather Service and other agencies, providing critical information including wind speed and direction, wave height, pressure changes, and other key data about marine conditions and developing storms along the U.S. coast, Great Lakes, and out at sea. The information is also critical to commercial and recreational mariners.

A statement posted to the NDBC website said the agency’s primary processing servers were shut off due to a facilities issue on March 9. A spokesperson for the National Weather Service offered some additional information about what happened in an emailed statement:

“On March 9, a burst pipe caused extensive flooding at NWS headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, which caused an outage at the data center housed in the building. NOAA’s ocean/marine buoy data are processed on servers located in the affected data center, causing the current buoy data outage. The building is currently being dried out by the building owner/manager, Foulger Pratt. Extensive coordination is taking place between NOAA and Foulger Pratt to develop a comprehensive plan for a full damage assessment, to inspect and restore systems in the building, and to ensure the building is fully repaired and safe for employees to return to their offices. This process will take time to complete. and we do not have an estimation at this time for when the marine buoy data will be available. Alternate solutions to restore buoy data flow are being worked.”

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