Earlier today, we were cruising along providing our 3500+ social media followers/fans with regular updates as Tornado Warnings were issued for the metro area around noon. A severe line of storms had crossed through most of Shelby, Desoto, and Tipton Counties and was heading into Fayette County when the power flashed, then went completely out, at Cirrus Weather Solutions in Bartlett. We weren't the only ones. MLGW reported a peak of 68,000 customers without power just after the storm.
|Last StormView Radar image provided just after the power loss at MWN.|
Cirrus Weather Solutions' servers feed data to our users, including current conditions from Bartlett, StormView Radar, severe weather alerts to @shelbyalerts on Twitter and via e-mail to hundreds of subscribers, and the severe weather warning map. This data is displayed on MemphisWeather.net, the MWN iPhone and Android apps, MWN Mobile, and also JacksonWeather.net. In addition, real-time updates from MWN staff to Facebook and Twitter followers originate from our home office and we are also closely monitoring weather data as it arrives to provide you with the latest updates. So, when the power goes out for more than a few minutes, we are severely handicapped. Smartphone updates only go so far!
While limited updates continued via smartphone to Facebook and Twitter, we took measures to update MWN and our users on our status and limited capabilities. Within 15 minutes of power restoral, all of our data feeds were restored and information was again populating the web, apps, etc.
The other issue that users experienced, specifically Android smartphone users, was that the MWN app was crashing in the 12pm hour, just after the storm passed through the city. This has been traced to cell network overloads (likely caused by high volume, as well as limited tower capacity due to power outages) and was beyond our control. (We understand that another large media entity in town also had difficulties with their app during this time period.)
We wish to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize for the difficulties we experienced today in delivering the timely and accurate information you have come to rely on from MWN. Power outages are not within our control, but our response to them is. A thorough review is underway to determine how we can better respond in these circumstances and ensure backup procedures are in place and fully tested. We can only assure you that we will do better next time. Thank you for placing your trust in us to provide you with the best weather information possible. Unfortunately, interruptions in service are part of doing business strictly via the web and electronic means. We remind you (as we did earlier today) to read and understand our severe weather policy, which includes the possibility of outages.
Thank you again for your patronage,
Owner, Cirrus Weather Solutions