Houston-area businesses have been focused this summer on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Hanna’s Texas landfall on July 25 is a sobering reminder that we are in the middle of an above active hurricane season.
The ongoing effects of the coronavirus crisis make planning and preparing for natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tropical storms, more important than ever.
“It starts with a plan and then you need to be prepared to execute it,” said Rhonda Cook, CEO and founder of PS Lightwave. “We reviewed and revised our Disaster Recovery plan prior to hurricane season, including planning for a potential storm while managing COVID-19.”
Hurricanes and Houston, unfortunately, go together with the Bayou City often in the path of storms, including four major hurricanes or tropical storms in the past 20 years:
- Allison 2001 – Tropical storm did $5 billion in property damage.
- Rita 2005 – Four years later Rita doubled Allison’s damage with $10 billion total.
- Ike 2008 – Category 2 hurricane left 38 billion in damage, one of the 10 costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.
- Harvey 2017 – Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 mph made landfall on Texas coast. The storm’s wrath left 50 inches of rain, 300,000 flooded structures, and $120 billion in property damage. One of costliest storms on record.
2020 Hurricane Season Predicted to Be More Active
The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted that the 2020 hurricane season would be more active than typical seasons with 13 to 19 named storms and 3 to 6 major hurricanes.
Even before the hurricane season officially started on June 1, there were two or more named storms that formed in May for the first time since 2012.
Activity continued in June with Tropical Storm Cristobal, which flirted with hitting the Houston area the first week of summer, and became the earliest third named storm on record.
In July, the hurricane season records continued to fall with tropical storms Edouard (July 4), Fay (July 9), Gonzalo (July 21) and Hanna (July 23) forming in the Atlantic.
This quartet of storms became the earliest fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth named storms on record.
Hanna eventually turned into a hurricane and made landfall 250 miles from Houston on Padre Island.
NOAA says that conditions continue to be favorable for above average activity, including warmer sea surface temperatures and weaker trade winds.
With hurricane season running until the end of November and the peak activity of the season typically occurring between mid-August to late October, businesses need to have their disaster plans updated and ready to go.
PS Lightwave’s Hurricane Season Plan
When storms do threaten the Houston area the PS Lightwave Hurricane Disaster Response Planning Committee meets and implements the first stage of its response plan.
The team will hold additional meetings as needed and continue to monitor the progress of storms and escalate to the next disaster response level if necessary.
“Even if storms diminish in strength, we continue to be vigilant in our monitoring and preparations,” Cook said.
PS Lightwave’s Network Operations Center (NOC) is the central nervous system of disaster response with Tier-1 and Tier-2 experienced operations teams fully-equipped with sophisticated network management, monitoring and analysis tools.
The NOC is managed by PS Lightwave employees around the clock, ensuring customers stay up and running, no matter what the radar throws at Houston.
Keys to Disaster Response: Preparedness, Restoration Efforts, Communication
PS Lightwave has found the key to disaster response is preparedness, restoration efforts, and communication with customers, vendors, and staff throughout the event.
Committing the highest level of responsiveness helps ensure that network and customer’s services are maintained. Any potential issues are addressed swiftly, efficiently, and safely.
Updated communications with customers keeps everybody in the loop.
For more information you can contact the NOC at 832-615-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.