A research conducted by a firm, UrgentLink Disaster Communications System, has shown that hurricanes Harvey and Irma severely disrupted communications infrastructure on the Southern coast of Texas and South Florida.
According to the company, the research relied primarily on daily tracking reports from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and discovered that counties on Texas Gulf Coast, South of Houston, faced widespread cell tower outages due to Hurricane Harvey.
It said: “In Aransas County (where the City of Rockport is located), 95 percent of the county’s cellular towers was down for three days. Harvey knocked out 283,000 landlines in Texas and Louisiana, even though the impact was far less severe than Irma had on landlines in Florida.
“Irma completely disabled 15 Emergency 911 call centres, knocked out 50 per cent of cellular towers in the Greater Miami area and 8.25 million landlines in Florida, Alabama and Georgia.”
According to the President of MB Public Affairs, Mark Bogetich, the people knew “these mega-storms had a devastating impact on lives and property but were surprised by the degree of destruction they caused to communications networks”.
The findings of the research, which was last week availed members of InfraGard, a council of the American Society for Industrial Security’s (ASIS) International, would be made public for use in emergency operations planning.