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NWS bandwidth shortage, proposes limiting key data (USA)

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Not sure where this belongs as may affect sailors and access to forecasts.  It probably has political overtones, but I don't waste time there.  So general interest as a compromise.

From the Washington Post:  National Weather Service faces internet bandwidth shortage, proposes access limits - The Washington Post

"For the past decade, the National Weather Service has been plagued by failures in disseminating critical forecast and warning information that is aimed at protecting lives and saving property. In some cases, its websites have gone down during severe weather events, unable to handle the demand."

As a publicly funded agency, the data and products from NOAA are "public domain."  But private companies (Accuweather, weather.com (IBM now), and others etc.) use this data to create their own products (and revenue).  From the article, NOAA suggests limiting download connections to 60x per minute per user. 

As a purely recreational user, I fail to see the problem with this.  I use the NWS products straight from them, including observations, forecasts, and discussion products.  Don't recall having connection problems (though the local NWS radar has periodically gone down - these types of issues no doubt illustrate the budget constraints the NWS operates under).  I have a few weather apps on my phone, but do not pay for "premium" services.  So I am hardly the audience the private companies are worried about. Certain industries/companies pay for independent analysis and forecasts (though I think most airlines have in-house weather folks, but need the observations and model outputs to run their own analysis), and I imagine that is where the big money is.

Private weather companies claim this proposal will harm their products (and no doubt revenue).  Arguably, until the advent of the public internet less than 30 years ago and subsequent investment in connectivity infrastructure, this data was not exactly instantaneously available to anyone.  Times and expectations change obviously.

Interested in comments from both other mainstream customers and those in private weather industry (DryArmour?) as to what they think about this.  See public notice here:

pns20-85ncep_web_access.pdf (weather.gov) 

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National Hurricane Center (a part of NWS) is always in trouble when a big one is barrelling in.

They should look at cloud computing and lease resources when demand is overloading their systems. It is what differentiates cloud from traditional distributed processing.


anyone know how iBM pumped  the pooch on interactive radar?

Weather Channel and Weather Underground radar does not work on firefox for the last couple of weeks.

Have to use Microsoft Edge and other tosser browsers..

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ever since Windows slinked in an update while I was in the hospital last week, my connectivity, and speed has been dismal. Can't even watch a youtube, and even the NYT site won't load 9 times out of 10 w/o rebooting the whole computer.

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NWS recently changed radar display, at least in our area. Sent them email yesterday as the radar link on mobile site must go to discontinued (?) address. I can get local NWS radar to display on iPhone if I go through the full site, but not through link on mobile site. Local office said they were not aware of that, but would forward information to their web folks.  They said they were aware of some other bugs to be worked out. I interpreted their reply as bugs just related to radar change. 

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Even at 80+ Mbps network speed on a laptop, their new radar loop is very slow to load and still slow to replay the loop even after it loads.  Yes, their new map looks much nicer, but I'm looking for alternatives.  

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