National Weather Service planned data outage on May 5, 2020: What you need to know

We have been informed by the National Weather Service that they need to do a major network infrastructure upgrade on May 5, 2020. This will knock out several weather data sources for 2-3 hours. Here are the details, and what we at AllisonHouse are doing to mitigate it.

WHAT’S GOING ON?

The National Weather Service will be doing a major network upgrade in their internal data relay and acquisition system from 12Z-14:30Z (7 AM CT to 9:30 AM CT) on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. This will be done to eliminate congestion during peak periods, thus reducing or eliminating data delays and improving reliability. This will knock out several data feed types from NOAAport, the primary data feed that the National Weather Service sends to all National Weather Service offices and major weather data vendors (including us).

WHAT FEED TYPES WILL BE DOWN FROM NOAAPORT?

The outage will result in the loss of the following data:

Most text-based products (including ALL weather watches, advisories and warnings)

ALL Level 3 standard resolution radar data (including all base reflectivity/velocity products, correlation coefficient, and KDP), as well as derived products such as VIL, 1 and 3 hour and storm total precipitation. In short, ALL level 3 radar products will be down.

MRMS radar mosaics

METARs (airport weather observations)

MADIS (5 minute METARs and mesonet data)

ALL models run during that time (NAM, HRRR, etc)

Buoy data

WHAT WE WILL DO TO MITIGATE THIS AS MUCH AS WE CAN

Here is what Allisonhouse is doing to mitigate this outage as much as possible. First, we have access to a backup data feed that will transmit some of the missing products, with caveats, and we also generate some of our own products, which will also mitigate much of the data loss during this maintenance window. Here is a summary of what will happen with each of these feeds for our customers:

Level 3 radar products: AllisonHouse customers will notice NO outages or interruptions from products that we make that are super-resolution. This includes base reflectivity, base velocity, KDP, and CC. This applies to tilts 1-3. We cannot make super-resolution products for higher tilts, so tilts 4 and higher will not update (use GRAnalyst for that; Level 2 data is completely unaffected by this outage). If you use GRLevel3, Storm Relative Velocity tilts 1-3 will also still work as intended. RadarScope and RadarOmega customers will only see outages on the highest tilts as described above, and derived products, such as Storm Total Precipitation.

NWS watches, advisories and warnings: we should get them through our backup data feed; however, they will be delayed anywhere from 5 seconds to 2 minutes.

METARs: They will be sent on our backup feed with a 5 second to 2 minute delay. However, those partners that use our direct-from-FAA METARs will see NO delay (this includes GRAnalyst/GRLevel3 METAR placefiles).  All other software will experience the delay described above (including GREarth, and AWIPS-2).

MRMS radar: We get these via fiber, EXCEPT for the AWIPS-2 server, which unfortunately *requires* them to go through the NOAAport satellite feed. AllisonHouse Maps and GREarth customers will be unaffected.

MADIS: We get these via fiber, therefore, MADIS should remain operational with no delays.

Buoy data: Unfortunately, buoy data is not on either of the two backup feeds we have available to us. That data will be lost.

Models: We’re just going to have to wait until the feed comes back up. Plan on a major delay in model information with the 12Z NAM, and 12Z-14Z HRRR, at a minimum.

COMPLICATIONS:

We don’t exactly know when the feeds will come back up. As a precaution, we are keeping the feed on for 3 hours. If the NWS manages to get the feed back up in 2 hours in a best-case scenario, some production duplication (most notably, warnings on RadarScope, GREarth GRAnalyst, GRLevel3 and AllisonHouse Maps) may occur. We ask for your forgiveness as we would rather have that, than miss a very important bulletin. It is important to note that not all feeds may come back at once, and they may be quite unstable for a while after as the system slogs through the backlog of data to be sent,

If the outage unexpectedly goes on longer than that, we can make the backup feed stay on as long as we want. That will have to be manually done, but we will closely monitor the feed Tuesday morning to see if an extension of the backup is warranted. If you do not see the data type listed above (such as Level 2 radar and satellite imagery), you can be assured those feeds will be unaffected.

If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to drop us an email on our support page. Thank you for your patience, and know we have done our best to minimize the impacts of this outage to you!

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *