Carriers, towercos and other communications infrastructure companies are watching Hurricane Dorian’s path and preparing to face the aftermath of whatever damage the storm could bring to Florida and potentially Georgia and the Carolinas.
At press time, Hurricane Dorian was still battering the Bahamas in the Atlantic Ocean, as a Category 4 with sustained winds of 155 mph, according to ABC. Forecasters disagree on when and where where Dorian will hit next. If it keeps to Monday’s path, it looks like the closest passage to Florida will be near Cape Canaveral by Tuesday night into Wednesday morning with forecast sustained winds of 125 mph, which would make it a Category 3 hurricane. Reports yesterday afternoon said the slow one-mile-per-hour pace may help diminish the impact to the Atlantic Coast states.
If it soon starts to turn north, Florida would be spared Dorian’s full fury. But if Dorian moves a little more to the west, more serious storm effects would pummel parts of the coastline, reports The Washington Post. For this reason, the National Hurricane Center issued hurricane, storm surge, and tropical storm watches and warnings from the Atlantic coast of Florida northward into southeastern Georgia.
Regardless of landfall, wind gusts of up to 80 mph and storm surge will be the biggest threats for the eastern coast of Florida over the next few days. As Dorian makes its northward turn Monday into Tuesday, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina should remain on high alert, reports the Post.
Communication providers storm prep continued into Labor Day. Verizon states: As Hurricane Dorian heads towards Florida, our emergency response teams are busy making sure residents, visitors and first responders can stay connected during and after the storm.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stated Monday the agency worked throughout the weekend to finalize storm preparations. Commission personnel contacted wireless carriers and broadcasters to offer help. With government partners like FEMA, the Commission worked to ensure that communications providers and power companies coordinate their activities as needed when service restoration efforts get underway. The agency also reminded carriers of the need to have roaming agreements in place before the storm hits. FCC personnel are conducting “pre-landfall” surveys of the RF spectrum in projected impact areas, to help identify impacts to public safety communications and broadcast outages.
“Verizon has backup power in the form of batteries and generators at our cell sites and network facilities so that even if commercial power is lost, our network can continue to run. We also pre-arrange ongoing fuel deliveries to the generators so if commercial power is out for a long period, we are able to help keep customers” connected.
As the storm’s path continues to change, AT&T says its teams across the Southeast remain prepared. With the largest impacts expected along the South-Central Florida and Carolina coasts, teams continue to reposition assets to target these locations.
The carrier is also planning and staging generators in the most recent high risk areas. It is fortifying facilities, mitigating flood risk, and preparing response equipment with efforts heavily focused on identifying and adjusting staging areas to find the safest places for its for recovery assets. AT&T’s FirstNet liaisons are in contact with federal and state officials on our deployment efforts to support public safety and the communities in the storm’s path.
Sprint, too, continues to prepare for Dorian. The carrier is providing assistance for those impacted in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Through September 4, Sprint will waive call, text and data overage fees for Sprint customers. Sprint’s retail locations on St. Thomas and St. Croix will serve as charging stations for anyone in the area.
“T-Mobile is preparing our teams for Hurricane Dorian’s landfall in the continental US, over the coming days, some T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile stores in affected areas may be closed or open with revised hours,” a tweet from T-Mobile stated. The carrier encourages customers to charge their devices and backup battery packs.
Social media sites centering on tower construction workers show companies are actively recruiting personnel for the rebuilding jobs to come in the wake of the storm.
Top Twitter/Emergency Resource sites:
- National Hurricane Center
- NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- American Red Cross #HurricaneDorian
- Florida Storms – Florida Public Radio Emergency Network Google Play iTunes
- Florida 511 – Get up-to-the-minute, real-time traffic conditions and incident information for the State of Florida with Florida 511.
- Florida County Emergency Management Offices
- Florida County Emergency Managers – Contacts
- Alert Florida
TEXT to Donate relief sites (Sprint):
- American Red Cross. Text DORIAN to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Dorian disaster-related response and recovery efforts.
- World Central Kitchen. Text FOOD to 80100 to donate $10 to the World Central Kitchen to feed the people directly affected by Hurricane Dorian.
- Florida Disaster Fund- Volunteer Florida Foundation. Text DISASTER to 20222 to donate $10 to the Florida Disaster Fund- Volunteer Florida Foundation for Hurricane Dorian disaster-related response and recovery efforts.
- Florida Disaster Fund- Volunteer Florida Foundation. Text DISASTER25 to 20222 to donate $25 to the Florida Disaster Fund- Volunteer Florida Foundation for Hurricane Dorian disaster-related response and recovery efforts.