Wireless sensor networks have been widely used for surveillance in harsh environments. In many such applications, the environmental data are continuously sensed, and data collection by a server is only performed occasionally. Hence, the sensor nodes have to temporarily store the data, and provide easy and on-hand access for the most updated data when the server approaches. Given the expensive server-to-sensor communications, the large amount of sensors and the limited storage space at each tiny sensor, continuous data collection becomes a challenging problem. In this paper, we present partial network coding (PNC) as a generic tool for the above applications. PNC generalizes the existing network coding (NC) paradigm, an elegant solution for ubiquitous data distribution and collection. Yet, PNC enables efficient storage replacement for continuous data, which is a major deficiency of the conventional NC. We prove that the performance of PNC is quite close to NC, except for a sublinear overhead on storage and communications. We then address a set of practical concerns toward PNC-based continuous data collection in sensor networks. Its feasibility and superiority are further demonstrated through simulation results.