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Hurricane Florence Flooding Complicates Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity

The former Hurricane Florence, now a tropical depression, will dump rain on many areas of North Carolina through at least Tuesday, September 18. Roughly 600,000 businesses and residents lack power, and continued flooding will likely complicate disaster recovery and business continuity efforts for weeks to come.

The technology industry and MSP ecosystem are working hard to minimize the storm’s impact for customers. Many vendors have moved technical swat teams into the cleanup areas, assisting with onsite power, WiFi and other services. Cloud companies are making special offers to help partners and customers run businesses off-premises while on-premises systems can be checked, reactivated or rebuilt. But the cleanup efforts could stretch on for months.

Among the anecdotes to note as of Sunday, September 16, 6:30 p.m. ET:

  • The storm has killed 14 people so far, and officials expect the death toll to rise (Source: Business Insider).
  • Though Florence is now classified as a tropical depression, the storm still threatens severe flooding of rivers and roads across North and South Carolina (Source: Business Insider).
  • Several counties face tornado warnings through Sunday evening (Source: National Weather Service).
  • Roughly 570,000 North Carolina businesses and residences have lost power. South Carolina has more than 24,000 outages. And Virginia has 5,100 (Source: Data Fusion Solutions).
  • Duke Energy has already restored power to tens of thousands of customers, but some areas could be dark for days or weeks (Source: Multiple reports).
  • Florence may ultimately cause $30 billion to $50 billion in damages, according to a preliminary AccuWeather estimate.

Hurricane Florence Flooding Risks and Rain Totals:

The big concern remains ongoing rain and the associated flooding. According to USA Today and AccuWeather:

  • Wilmington, Myrtle Beach and Charlotte could face “catastrophic” flooding.
  • Asheville and Raleigh — home to major technology companies — could face “major flooding.

The rainfall is expected to continue in many areas through Tuesday, Sept. 18, with some locations receiving more than 15 inches, according to forecasts:

Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery: Technology Industry Moves

Among the noteworthy moves by technology vendors:

  • CompTIA launched a fundraising effort to assist victims of Hurricane Florence and encouraged its corporate and individual members, certification alumni, industry partners, and the broader technology community to join in the effort. CompTIA, through its CompTIA Giving charitable endeavor, will match dollar-for-dollar all contributions up to a total of $100,000.

  • MSP platform specialist Continuum offered guidance to partners here. The company is offering Help Desk coverage 24×7 at no additional charge to all affected partners to ensure they can keep their clients supported throughout the storm and its aftermath.

  • Cytracom, a VoIP provider, gave the following advice to partners ahead of the storm: If customers have been displaced due to evacuations, Cytracom’s help desk article can help mobile devices to resume business calls. The company encouraged partners to activate voice continuity policies for your customers that plan on working through the storm to ensure communications are uninterrupted. The setup instructions are here.
  • Datto activated its Disaster Response Team (DRT) to Raleigh, North Carolina. The DRT team is equipped with SafeResponse and FEMA training and will be on the ground to provide local community support. Moreover, teams will be providing free 4G LTE WiFi to shelters in effected areas to ensure connectivity. The company’s natural disaster survival guide is here.

ChannelE2E’s ongoing Hurricane Florence and business continuity updates are available here.

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