NWRDC Responds to Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, approximately 100 miles southwest of the Northwest Regional Data Center, as a Category 4 storm early Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 10, 2018.  The storm’s heavy rain, high winds, and extreme storm surges caused massive destruction in its path and spawned numerous tornadoes. Hurricane Michael was the first Category 4 storm in recorded history to make landfall in the northeast Gulf Coast.

Due to the rapid formation of this system, we began following our storm-preparedness plans on Sunday, October 7, beginning as soon as the storm was officially named Tropical Storm Michael.  Early Monday morning, our host institution, Florida State University, announced it was closing at midnight through the remainder of the week.  We immediately confirmed the members of our storm team and second shift replacements, ensuring technical staff were included to assist our colocation customers if necessary.  We purchased food and supplies for their stay at NWRDC and made hotel reservations in Lithia Springs, Georgia in the event we needed to send staff to work the situation from our offsite location.  We contacted all managed service customers to ensure the viability of their backup jobs and replications.  The technical team reviewed our DR plans and made determinations on how to address any pre or post-storm fail-overs.  Large trees near the south corner of the data center were removed and our roof drains inspected and cleared of debris.

A total of 11 staff plus 7 family members rode out the event together at NWRDC.  Our staff worked over 347 hours of compensatory time in order to guarantee service continuity.  The city-wide power outages caused by this storm marked the longest time spent on generator power, since Hurricane Kate passed through Tallahassee in 1985.  We remained on the primary generator from 3:43 PM on Wednesday till 7:52 PM on Friday, using 2,700 gallons of fuel from our primary tank.  We did not have to switch over to our secondary generator. There were no service interruptions during either the cutovers to generator power or back to city electricity.

On Thursday at 9:30 AM, the all-clear advisory was issued, lifting the hurricane warnings for the Tallahassee area.  We initiated our after-event protocols.  Staff inspected the property and building’s exterior for damage; none was reported.  NWRDC employees were contacted by the operations team to check on their wellfare and verify their connectivity status.  We are pleased to report NWRDC and its staff weathered Hurricane Michael with minimal damage.