Leading U.S. weather web sites are managing a crush of web traffic from Internet users tracking the path of Hurricane Charley, which battered Florida Friday with winds reaching 145 miles per hour Friday, and is now making a second landfall along the East Coast in South Carolina.
The Weather Channel web site at Weather.com had some reliability problems in the moments immediately preceding Charley’s landfall Friday afternoon, but soon stabilized. The network offers round-the-clock coverage of weather, and experiences its largest audiences during major hurricanes. Its web site is hosted by UUnet, a unit of MCI.
The National Hurricane Center, the U.S. government’s central source for hurricane information, has been available throughout the storm. The NHC site is hosted on government servers at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Public attention on the storm spiked Friday afternoon, when Charley suddenly strengthened from a Category 2 storm to a much more dangerous Category 4 storm, and then veered to the East of its projected track, sparing the Tampa Bay metropolitan area but hammering residents of the Fort Myers area. Early reports estimate that 250,000 structures were damaged in the area surrounding Fort Myers.