As many in Texas contend with the fallout of Winter Storm Uri, including physical cleanup, insurance claims, rebuilding, and recovering, business readiness is a hot topic in boardrooms.
Data Center Dynamics reports, “People who aren’t necessarily in a datacenter or power generation industry, are talking about the grid, they’re talking about batteries, they’re talking about generators, they’re wanting to make sure that this does not happen again,” said Bill Kleyman, Executive Vice President of Digital Solutions at Switch.
When power matters
As a result of the winter storm, rolling blackouts caused outages across the state, leaving 4.5 million businesses and homes without power.
More than 100 people died during Winter Storm Uri, most from hypothermia. Carbon monoxide poisoning, vehicle crashes, and fires, and medical equipment failure were other causes of death, said the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Business operations tried to switch to diesel backup, but some organizations struggled, including Florida health care provider Availity, which lost its data center for 11 hours, and Austin’s city data center, which also suffered downtime.
More than ever, partnering with a data center that is prepared for any weather-related disaster is imperative to successful operations and customer satisfaction.
Past winter storms
The National Weather Service reports that damages from the weeklong cold snap could surpass that from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and could be the most costly weather disaster in state history.
Other recent winter weather systems to hit Texas include:
- Storms in February 2011 that dropped 5-8 inches of snow from Dallas Love Field to Emory, Sulphur Springs, Mineola, and Mount Pleasant.
- March 2010 storms moved across the Red River Valley, eventually dumping 5 to 9 inches of snow across Collin County.
- February 2010 storms brought record-breaking snowfall across North Central Texas. This very unusual event brought totals of a foot or more for many locations around the DFW Metroplex. Haslet reported 14.4 inches, while DFW Airport had a record-breaking 12.5 inches in 24 hours.
Read more from the National Weather Service about significant winter weather and storms that have hit Texas, including the first recorded white Christmas in 1841.
The 2021 hurricane season in the U.S.
As the winter weather starts to fade, spring weather also brings hurricane season to the minds of Texas residents.
With Hurricane Harvey still affecting families and businesses, time marches on to the next season. The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be more active than usual.
Predictions released by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project suggest that this year’s season will consist of 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes.
A major hurricane is one that is Category 3 or higher (115-plus-mph winds) on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Business lessons learned
As a business, you never want to be reactive.
If you’re reacting to a situation after the fact, there’s no telling the dollar amount that a weather event has already taken on your bottom line.
Preparing your business for the hurricane season takes intention and a hard look at current processes.
The most important advice we recommend: Be ready for the worst, so you won’t be caught off guard.
You’d much rather have happy customers who are thankful that you planned and kept all your systems online than the opposite.