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Hurricane Harvey: Fortune 500 Companies, Small Businesses Brace For Impact

Hurricane Harvey’s business impact could potentially stretch far beyond Texas to the rest of the United States. Indeed, dozens of energy and technology companies are in the storm’s predicted path. Translation: Flooding and power outages could potentially impact supply chains, cloud services and other critical infrastructure upon which the nation relies.

Updates: Visit our live updates on Hurricane Harvey and the associated business recovery efforts here.

Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 hurricane, hit Corpus Christi, Texas around midnight Friday (August 25). Houston also faces a tropical storm warning, with some alerts stretching deeper inland all the way to San Antonio and Austin, Texas.

Texas Data Solutions, an IT service provider in Pearland, offered this advice to customers and businesses in the area. Though the storm will likely weaken as it moves inland, Category 4 and 3 hurricanes can:

  • Cause structural damage to small residences and utility buildings;
  • destroy mobile homes;
  • uproot and snap trees — making roads impossible to navigate; and
  • trigger near-total to total power loss and water contamination that can last several weeks. 

Those intimidating factoids are from Wikipedia.

Hurricane Harvey: In the Storm’s Path?

Major technology companies, infrastructure providers, energy firms and Fortune 500 companies are potentially in the storm’s path, though the storm could weaken by the time it passes over Corpus Christi and heads inland.

The names to know include…

  • Houston: Phillips 66, Halliburton and several other Fortune 500 firms. Technology companies like Alert Logic, BMC and HP Inc. also are there.
  • San Antonio: Rackspace, CPS Energy and iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel Communications) have major footprints in the city. On a painful note, many residents in the area lack flood insurance, according to mySA.com.
  • Austin: Dell, IBM, AMD, Applied Materials, AT&T and Activision Blizzard all have major footprints in the area. According to Friday forecasts, it looks like Austin will avoid the brunt of the storm.

Nevertheless, thousands of small businesses also are at risk across the Texas Gulf Coast. To put things in perspective, more than 7,000 small businesses suffered various damages during Louisiana flooding last year, and the associated storms were far smaller than Harvey.

Meanwhile, most eyes are on Corpus Christi, a city with about 340,000 residents. Water levels are already 1 to 2 feet above average tide levels as of early this afternoon near Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, Texas, and levels are continuing to rise, according to Weather.com.

Total rainfall could reach 15 to 25 inches — with some areas reaching 35 inches — from today through Wednesday, August 30, multiple reports stated. Elsewhere, rainfall of 5 to 15 inches is expected across Deep South Texas and Texas Hill Country eastward to central and southwest Louisiana, the reports stated.

Hurricane Harvey: Technology Companies Brace for Impact

From enterprise IT shops to SMB technology firms, businesses across the country are striving to safeguard Texas customer assets. Datto, for one, is offering free virtual or imaged backup solutions (known as SIRIS) for those that need immediate capacity to protect additional servers prior to the storm’s impact across the Texas Gulf Coast, a spokesman said.

Moreover, Datto sent a disaster response team to the area. The team has a physical supply of SIRIS 3 devices for backup and business continuity, Datto Networking Appliances to provide routing and Internet failover with 4G LTE, as well as Switches and Access Points to assist with general networking, the company spokesman indicated. These devices will be provided free-of-charge to help partners support their SMB customers amid the storm, the company vowed.

On the help desk front, Datto plans to prioritize all customer support tickets related to backup and recovery that are submitted from now through the end of the emergency in areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the spokesman added.

Energy Companies Take Proactive Steps

Meanwhile, large oil refiners in Corpus Christi — including Valero Energy, Flint Hills Resources and Citgo Petroleum — are temporarily shutting down gasoline production, while Houston-area refiners are continuing to closely monitor the massive storm, The Houston Chronicle reported. More than 25 percent of the nation’s gasoline is refined along the Texas Gulf Coast, the report said.

Stay tuned to this blog entry for ongoing updates about Hurricane Harvey’s business impact.

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