Weather station back in business

Chrissy Williams / Roundup

The storm raging around the Pierce College Weather Station for two weeks has finally passed.

The weather station was unable to provide forecasts after a firewall intended to keep hackers off the school’s network unintentionally also blocked weather updates. It went back on-line Oct. 18 at 4:01 p.m.

It took 16 days to diagnose and fix the problem, however the station is now functioning under its own network and firewall.

Hundreds of emails from all over the world poured into the station at 4:50 a.m. Oct. 2, when the Web site that regularly updates every 10 minutes suddenly stopped running. Weather observers and colleges from all over the world use the Web site.

It is “without a doubt… among an elite few stations on the planet with deep, reliable archives of weather data,” said Todd Morris, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

The famous weather station “puts Pierce College on the map,” said Bill Patzert, climatologist at Jet Propulsion Laboratories.

The Daily News and the L.A. Times both ran stories about the station’s lost connection.

No data was lost when the connection was down, and all information is now updated.

At first, the lost connection seemed like a disaster, but according to Doreen Clay, a Pierce public information officer, good things came from the crash.

“We found out how many people really depended and relied upon the weather station when it went out.”

Old computers were replaced with newer models, donated by KTTV Fox 11 News.

Clay also said that because of the recent press the station has received, a reader called wanting to donate meteorology equipment to the department.

The Pierce weather station is one of the oldest and most reliable stations in the nation.

In its 57 years it has only lost three days of data, when vandals destroyed weather-recording devices on Halloween 1960.

Because of this consistency, it is “the most sought-after archive of data in the basin,” boasts the Web site, which also has a record-breaker section, showing the hottest day to date (119.2 degrees July 22) and the longest run of consecutive 100 degree days (July 6 to July 27).

The weather station was instituted on July 1, 1949, under the direction of the late A. Lee Haines (Melissa Keyes / Roundup)