Apple appeared to be having a few problems with its servers yesterday evening with the UK iTunes Store offline, along with iMessage and other cloud service outages, including FaceTime and Game Centre, affecting users globally. Could the company's North Carolina data centre have been hit by tropical storm Sandy?

In the UK, iTunes Store users reported that purchased content wouldn't play. We were watching old episodes of Red Dwarf via an Apple TV at the time and witnessed the outage for ourselves with a message that read: "The iTunes Store is currently unavailable. Try again later".

According to other reports the iTunes Store and iTunes Match content was inaccessible no matter which device was used.

Also offline was iMessage, with: "Some" users affected, according to Apple. The company posted a System Status message claiming: "iCloud: FaceTime, iMessage - Users Affected: Some. Users are experiencing a problem with the service listed above. We are investigating and will update the status as more information becomes available." That message suggested that the outage happened between 13.30 and 15.25 PDT (or 20.30 to 22.25 GMT). We'd place the timing of our own iTunes outage at around 21.30 GMT. The company posted a message explaining the Game Centre outage at 15.50 PDT (22.50 GMT).

This is the second major outage in a week. Apple also had a reduced iCloud service on 25 October, according to reports. Apple also had an iMessage outage in September and a iCloud, App Store and FaceTime issue in August.

Apple now has iMessage back up and running, according to its post at 22.54 GMT on 30 October.

There is some speculation that Apple's North Carolina data centre may have been affected by Tropical Storm Sandy. According to reports, strong winds and heavy snow battered parts of North Carolina on Tuesday.

The iTunes outage came almost at the same time as news that Apple is pushing back the release of iTunes 11 for another month.

You can check the system status of iCloud here.

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