Hurricane Sally battered the Gulf Coast at a slow pace and with massive amounts of rain Wednesday. It unleashed “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding along with parts of the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm’s eye crossed over land near Gulf Shores, Alabama, early Wednesday as a Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 105 mph. As of Wednesday afternoon, the eye was about 30 miles west-northwest of Pensacola, Florida, with winds of 70 mph, reported CBS News.
Initial reports by carriers about their cell sites looked good yesterday. Alabama bore the brunt of the communications infrastructure damage. Nine counties are covered in the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) report for Sally, representing a total of 1,177 cell sites. Of those, 213 were not working. Broken down by county, Baldwin, Monroe and Mobile suffered the most damage.
Nearly 30 percent, 106 out of 361 cell sites in Baldwin County, were not working. 57 had no power, 46 had data transport issues to and from the tower site, and one suffered storm damage.
Nearly 26 percent, eight out of 31 of cell sites in Monroe County, were non-operational. Three had no power and another three had data transport issues.
And in Mobile County, more than 17 percent, 91 out of 513 sites were non-operational. 45 had no power, 42 suffered data transport issues and four were damaged.
Four Florida counties had cell site damage. Representing a total of 786 sites, 54 were out; 37 had no power and 16 had data transport issues.
Mississippi and Louisiana rounded yesterday’s report. Nine Louisiana parishes were reporting for DIRS. All 1,283 cell tower sites were reported to be working. The FCC subsequently removed Louisiana from reporting for Sally. Mississippi remains in the reporting area. It too, has nine counties covered by DIRS. Of the 696 cell tower sites, only five were not working yesterday.
Cable and wireline companies reported 88,362 subscribers out of service in the affected areas; that compares to 1,096 impacted subscribers on Tuesday. No television stations were reported off-air. Two FMs and two AMs were said to be dark.