Hurricane

The Hurricane Matthew catastrophe that wasn’t — online

The National Hurricane Center web site, which provides critical information on storm threats, went down for three hours late Thursday and early Friday as Hurricane Matthew churned off the Florida coast.
The National Hurricane Center web site, which provides critical information on storm threats, went down for three hours late Thursday and early Friday as Hurricane Matthew churned off the Florida coast. National Hurricane Center

It looked like the ultimate Hurricane Matthew catastrophe — the National Hurricane Center was down!

As the storm battered Florida’s Space Coast late Friday night, several popular storm-tracking websites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including the National Hurricane Center‘s and noaa.gov, seemed to vanish from cyberspace.

Actually, the websites were still there, though invisible to many worried hurricane-watchers. “A hardware anomaly affected how NOAA sites identify themselves to the web,” said NOAA spokesman Ciaran Clayton on Friday. “This interrupted access to some NOAA.gov websites, depending on the Internet carrier; however, the site remained accessible for many.”

By 2 a.m. on Friday, after three grim hours of cybersurgery, NOAA technicians had the problem under control. Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center and all the other agency’s meterological tentacles continued working throughout, issuing forecasts, radio alerts and other information.

“We have determined that this was not caused by a security incident,” Clayton said.

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