(Photo : Reuters)
Tropical Storm - Hurricane Isaac's Path through Florida, August 2012 (Photo : National Hurricane Center / Google Maps / Terrametrics)
Tropical Storm - Hurricane Isaac's Path into Alabama, August 2012 (Photo : National Hurricane Center / Google Maps / Terrametrics)
Tropical Storm - Hurricane Isaac's Path in August of 2012 (Photo : National Hurricane Center)
Tropical Storm - Hurricane Isaac's Path, August 2012 (Photo : National Hurricane Center / Google Maps / Terrametrics)
Verizon says it is preparing its network and physical assets in Florida for possible communications outages throughout the state as Tropical Storm Isaac looms closer, with a hurricane warning in effect for the Florida Keys, the West Coast of the state and the Florida Bay.
"Maintaining our customers communication services while ensuring our employees' safety is our overriding priority with a situation like this," Jeanmarie Milla, Verizon's operations president for Florida said in a statement. "Whether Isaac is a tropical storm or a hurricane, whether it threatens our service territory or not, now is the time for Verizon to initiate its emergency incident plans."
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Verizon is busy taking a number or preparatory actions for the storm and has been working on them since Friday. The company is holding regular meetings with its emergency preparedness and restoration teams. It is also preparing materials to use to protect critical company facilities. Workers are testing generators at central offices, filling fuel tanks, reviewing material stocks and lining up vendors to remain on standby to replenish any materials that may be depleted.
"We will be ready for any potentially severe conditions and will marshall our assets to keep as much of our operating territory in service as possible," Milla said. "We encourage our customers to review their readiness for maintaining communications options if necessary."
Verizon has the following recommendations for Floridian residents as they prepare for the storm: all homes should have a hard-wired telephone with a cord plugged into a jack ready for use in their homes. A list of emergency phone numbers should be compiled and kept on hand. Family emergency plans should be drawn up and reviewed. Everyone should make sure they have plenty of extra batteries and other supplies available. lastly, Verizon customers should ensure they have a fully charged mobile phone to use as backup and in case they are evacuated from their homes.
Verizon Wireless has compiled a list of tips on creating a personal emergency communications plan as well. Among them: program a list of emergency phone numbers and e-mail addresses into phones and laptops; forward home phone calls to your wireless number in case of emergency evacuations and utilize social media and e-mail to stay connected with friends and family during the storm.
Verizon customers are advised to expedite their preparations, as forecasters are reporting the increasing likelihood of the storm hitting Florida as early as Sunday evening, which is also the time frame estimated for Tropical Storm Isaac to upgrade to Hurricane Isaac. Gov. Rick Scott has already declared a state of emergency and officials in Florida are urging tourists out of the Florida Keys.
In addition to the aforementioned Hurricane warnings in parts of Florida, a hurricane watch is in effect for the southern part of Florida's east coast. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the middle portion of Florida's east coast. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the northeast coast of the Florida shoreline as well as the northwest coast from Bonita Beach to Tarpon Springs.
Isaac is bearing down on the northeast coast of Cuba, after having passed through Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Friday night. Thousands of Haitians were evacuated from their homes due to flooding and at least three are dead including a woman and two children. Mass evacuations were also mandated in the low-laying parts of the Dominican Republic because of flooding, but no injuries were reported.
The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for the Florida Keys, the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach southward and Florida Bay. A hurricane watch was also put in effect over Haiti, the east coast of Florida from Golden Beach southward and Andros Island in the Bahamas.
Traveling northwest at 17 mph, Isaac is about 40 miles east of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The storm has maintained maximum sustained winds of 60 mph but is expected to strengthen after moving over eastern Cuba later today, the center said.
According to the center, the storm is anticipated to reach southwest Florida and the Florida Keys by Sunday with hurricane conditions.
It is expected to drop between 4 to 8 inches of rain, with maximum rainfall of 12 inches, over Jamaica, parts of Cuba, the Florida Keys and southern Florida. The center warned that storm surge could mean up to 7 ft of flooding in the southwest Florida coast and up to 3 ft in the southeast Florida coast and the Florida Keys.