Facebook Data Center in Redwood City Hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Thousands of Employees Forced to Work From Home

Twitter’s data center knocked out by extreme heat in California

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SAN FRANCISCO — Thousands of Facebook engineers and data center personnel were forced into early morning meetings Monday as the company’s data center in Redwood City came under a fierce and unexpected heat wave. Within hours, thousands more workers were forced to leave the building as temperatures soared into the 90s.

Facebook engineers were summoned to help assess damage control at the data center in Redwood City after temperatures at the data center hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and by about 3:30 a.m., some 4,000 employees were being directed to leave the building.

Employees were told to work from home, but with temperatures already well into the 90s, the heat index reached 102.

The company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, said in an open letter posted on Facebook that the problem “began to appear in real time Monday morning.”

The data center was “unaffected by the heat for the most part,” she said.

But when temperatures soared to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, company engineers were forced to shut the cooling system off, she said.

“Like many of you, we were surprised and concerned to learn how quickly the energy performance of our data center was affected by the extreme heat,” Sandberg wrote on Facebook.

She said Facebook was working as quickly as possible to help engineers bring the building under control and to get the most people out of the building.

The company’s data centers in North America and Europe have been experiencing extreme heat on multiple occasions in recent years.

In July of 2014, temperatures at the Facebook data center in Northern California reached a near-record high of 107.3 degrees Fahrenheit. But the heat was not the issue in that case, according to the data center staff.

Instead, Facebook and its partners, Google, HP, IBM and the European Union Agency for Network and Information Services, were forced to evacuate the center due to a fire that broke out, the company confirmed.

Later that year, Facebook experienced a massive power surge at its data center in Kansas City. The power went out to the building’s cooling system, leaving thousands of people without electricity for close to 16 hours.

Facebook employees and their families were kept at the facility, and

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