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Hurricane Laura 2020: Disaster Recovery, Power Outage Updates

Hurricane Laura has knocked out power to roughly 700,000 customers across Texas and Louisiana. Disaster recovery efforts are under way. Power companies and IT service providers (ITSPs) could be particularly busy in the Lake Charles, Louisiana area — which avoided a water storm surged but suffered “massive” wind damage, NOLA.com reports.

Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday, August 27, as a Category 4 storm packing winds of up to 150 mph. It was the strongest storm to hit the area in more than 160 years, Bloomberg Radio reports.  By mid-morning August 27, it was tracking as a Category 1 hurricane before dissipating into a tropical depression.

Disaster recovery and business continuity experts may be particularly busy with cleanup efforts in southwestern Louisiana, which took a heavy hit this morning.

Hurricane Laura Impact: Loss of Life, Property Damage and Disaster Recovery Efforts

The fallout so far includes:

  • Landfall: Was near Cameron, Louisiana, on Thursday, August 27.
  • Deaths: Laura was blamed for six deaths, USA Today reports.
  • Power outages: 521,000 in Louisiana and 190,000 in Texas as of 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday, August 28, according to PowerOutage.us.
  • Evacuations: More than half a million people were ordered to evacuate Wednesday (August 26). Those on the move include IT solutions providers. National Networks, an MSP in the Lake Charles area, evacuated its offices but all customer data is safely stored in the cloud. The team is safe and secure, and will soon return to the area to assess physical damage, according to an update from close working partner Ulistic.
  • Building and property damage: Anecdotal reports suggest hundreds — perhaps thousands — of buildings have been badly damaged or destroyed in the storm.
  • Continued Threats: The National Hurricane Center warned of possible tornadoes Friday, August 28, evening across parts of the Mid-South and Tennessee Valley regions, USA Today reports.
  • Communication Services: Verizon consumer (prepaid and postpaid) and small business customers in Louisiana and  in the path of Hurricane Laura will receive unlimited calling, texting and data from August 26 through September 1, the telecom giant says. More details are available from Verizon’s Emergency Response Center.

MSPs: Staying Ahead of the Storm Threat

Adam Fadhli, owner, Discovery Information Technologies

Savvy MSPs in the region built business continuity plans long before Laura surfaced on the long-range radar. And Datto has issued this Hurricane Season Checklist for partners.

Among the MSPs navigating the storm: Discovery Information Technologies of Nederland, Texas. The MSP’s offices are less than 15 miles off the Texas/Louisiana coast.

“We have been through several serious storms and hurricanes over the past few decades, and we have learned from each experience,” said Adam Fadhli, president of Discovery Information Technologies, ahead of the storm. “Our primary datacenter in Nederland, Texas is housed in a structure which is rated to withstand 150+ mph winds, and we are equipped with a natural gas generator to keep our datacenter powered up in the event of a power outage.  We also maintain a secondary datacenter in Austin, Texas, where we replicate our data, and have the capability to “spin up” our primary infrastructure on a moment’s notice. ”

Ahead of Laura, Discovery Information Technologies’ primary preparation with clients is to “ensure that the managed backups that we do for them are current and replicated to our off-site secondary datacenter in Austin, Texas. We also assist customers with any pre-hurricane preparation they may need (i.e.: shutting down servers, remote access, etc.), as well as post-hurricane assistance and disaster recovery.”

Stay tuned for ongoing updates as ChannelE2E tracks Hurricane Laura and potential disaster recovery activities in the region.

Special thanks to Ulistic for ongoing introductions and updates from MSPs across the storm region.

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