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Hurricane Irene Threatens US Northeast; Cover Your Assets 202

Posted by timothy
from the oh-she's-always-theatening-people dept.
jfruhlinger writes "Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the heavily populated U.S. Northeast Corridor. If you work in IT, you know that there are few things that are worse for electronics than water; so, what's your plan? Tom Henderson has come up with a checklist, which sensibly includes backing everything up, twice; not that you have time for it now, but for future reference you might want to consider just moving your whole data center to a location that's been conveniently pre-hardened, like a water tower or a boiler room." Note that Irene has been no joke in the Caribbean; in Puerto Rico (with relatively modern infrastructure), about a third of the island lost power.
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Hurricane Irene Threatens US Northeast; Cover Your Assets

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  • by impaledsunset (1337701) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @03:00PM (#37210450)

    I don't worry about Hurricanes, I have TornadoGuard on my iPhone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      After the earthquake, the server room floor has enough cracks to drain the flooding caused by the holes in the roof.

    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      What is TornadoGuard, I don't have an Iphone obviously it's some sort of software but what does it do?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jonadab (583620)
      Yeah, no worries here, either. I live in central Ohio (close enough to the Mississippi/St.Lawrence continental divide that I've actually crossed it while walking the dog really -- yes, really), and I estimate that for a hurricane to get this far inland, this far north, and this far above sea level, not to mention crossing the entire Appalachian mountain system, with any significant punch left, the storm in question would have to be at least a category twelve, probably more like fifteen, on the scale where
      • by camperdave (969942) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @03:31PM (#37210894) Journal
        A hurricane is big enough to push normal storm cells around and disrupt local weather far inland. Just because the hurricane itself may not hit you doesn't mean you won't feel the effects.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by bobdole369 (267463)

          This is actually incorrect. Think of the atmosphere as the surface of a balloon, much like curved space. There are large "mountains" and deep "valleys" (ridges and troughs) - domes of high pressure and bowls of low pressure. When a massive LP system such as a hurricane creates a large dip in the surface, it is steered by (pointed in the direction by) high pressure cells, around the periphery of them, and powered by the general flow of air around them as well.

          Low pressure systems are generally attracted to

          • /me concedes "mechanics" of the effect. My atmospheric physics teacher would be hanging his head in shame at my post. I should know better.
      • by Nadaka (224565)

        This hurricane obviously won't make it over the Appalachia mountains, it isn't even headed that way.

        But a really strong gulf hurricane can affect places that far inland, causing thunderstorms and tornadoes. Hurricane Camille or Katrina for instance.

      • by rednip (186217)

        I'm no weatherman but it seems to me that in addition to flood stage rain event a strong late summer hurricane passing over the U.S. could easily spin off tornadoes. Either of those events usually cause some worries, even to the mighty mid-westerners.

        But who the hell cares, what's next?

        "No worries here in Australia, mate, for that to reach me, it'd have to be a bloody [and imaginary] category 500"
        +1 Insightful (or more maybe)

      • by DRJlaw (946416) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @08:38PM (#37214130)

        Yeah, no worries here, either. I live in central Ohio (close enough to the Mississippi/St.Lawrence continental divide that I've actually crossed it while walking the dog really -- yes, really), and I estimate that for a hurricane to get this far inland, this far north, and this far above sea level, not to mention crossing the entire Appalachian mountain system, with any significant punch left, the storm in question would have to be at least a category twelve, probably more like fifteen, on the scale where Katrina was a mere five.

        Recently moved there, did you? Hurricane Ike [clipsandcomment.com] did a pretty good number on central Ohio despite only being a category 4 storm. 2008 wasn't that long ago either.

        About the only accurate part of your post is the crossing the Appalachian limitation... Hurricanes that reach Ohio tend to dodge the Appalachians by way of that pesky Gulf of Mexico.

  • Puerto Rico (Score:4, Informative)

    by afidel (530433) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @03:10PM (#37210584)
    Yeah right, power and telecom frequently go out in a moderate thunderstorm down there. I have a coworker that's dealt with many offices at three different employers over the last 15 years and they've all had the same kinds of problems. The solution is to UPS everything and just not sweat it when the offices down there lose internet because you will NOT be able to get someone to respond in under 4 hours like you will stateside.
    • Re:Puerto Rico (Score:5, Informative)

      by madhatter256 (443326) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @03:17PM (#37210686)

      No one in Puerto Rico panics like they do in the US when it comes to Hurricanes. 99.9% of buildings are concrete.

      My grand parents live down there and went a whole month without power and electricity during the 2004 hurricanes. They have a cistern in the back that collects rain water in case the water supply gets tainted and generators in case electricity goes out.

      Lots of people do and live with it. Hurricanes and mudslides are no problem for us.

      • by couchslug (175151)

        "99.9% of buildings are concrete."

        As they should be. Wood is fine for furniture and camp fires.

        Wood is a shitty construction material.

        • by s122604 (1018036)
          Unless you are in a Earthquake, then wood as damn awesome
        • Re:Puerto Rico (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @04:05PM (#37211366)

          Wood is a shitty construction material.

          Tell that to all the people in Haiti, who still haven't recovered from the earthquake there a couple years ago. Or the people in various other 3rd-world cities where everything's made of concrete and they didn't think earthquakes were a concern until one hit.

          Concrete is a terrible construction material, unless you reinforce it with a lot of steel. But steel's expensive compared to plain concrete.

          • by Clsid (564627)

            Almost anything that you see today more than 2 stories high be it in a developing country or not is going to have steel reinforcement. Sure you can make the beams out of concrete as well as the columns but even then they are reinforced with steel rods. And working with steel actually tends to be cheaper than concrete because you spend less time and labor.

            Wood structures as you would find in your typical house in the US is actually pretty bad when it comes to earthquakes. Having lived in the US and then havi

      • by MaWeiTao (908546)

        That's the same thing my friends who have family there tell me. And it's generally the same thing I've seen with typhoons in Asia. Most destruction comes from landslides and biblical amounts of rainfall that result in flooding. But otherwise the vast majority of buildings weather the storm unscathed.

        I don't understand how the hell it is that states like Florida permit people to build homes out of lumber or live in trailers. Then there's the whole thing of people building homes along the water, having them d

      • I'm assuming that those occasionally killed in mudslides(though the last properly dramatic one was in '85, so it's been a little while) would beg to differ; but are unlikely to be able to...
      • 99.9% of buildings are concrete.

        I see, you have a very low level of abstraction in your buildings. :-)

      • by kilodelta (843627)
        I'm up here in RI and honestly all I see us getting is a little rain with some wind. We did have a hell of a T-storm earlier this summer that ripped a few trees up, and I don't expect this to be much worse to be honest.
        • by Kildjean (871084)

          How fast were those winds going? 20mph? thats nothing... when you get 75mph sustained winds (thats cat1) to 135mph sustained winds (cat4) then talk to me... That same attitude is what got so many people in Katrina killed.

        • I don't expect this to be much worse to be honest.

          You'd better hope you're right -- and away from the water. If you're wrong, you could end up five feet above sea level with a fifteen-foot storm surge, and need to swim in 100 mph winds and twenty-foot seas.

          Don't forget, emergency services (police, ambulance, fire, ...) suspend their services during these severe storms, so there's no help available (even if your phone service still works). The definition of pitiful is recordings of 911 calls made during the landfall of almost any major hurricane. People

      • by Kildjean (871084)

        In PR a Hurricane means extra vacation time... =)

        • by Kildjean (871084)

          I think we are the only country in the world that actually roots for a hurricane to come because it means there will be a chance to not go to work and still get paid LOL!

  • My company ordered all of our servers Scotchgarded last year for just such an emergency!
    • Pschaw! Everyone knows you protect things by wrapping them in tin foil. Then buried. Then lost. Then found. Then put up for public comment. Then buried again.
      • by kilodelta (843627)
        Or you do it the right way. Raised floor in the room housing the servers and absolutely no terminations under the floor, cabling is ok, but no terminations.
    • You misunderstood, the CEO just wanted an IT peon to guard his Scotch until the servers could bring it to him.
    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      Let me guess, you also waited until today in order to call all your hardware vendors to ask "how do I set up email alerts?"

  • by hemp (36945)

    I thought it was Ilene?

  • Where are the "cloud" servers located? It would suck if you backed to Dropbox, Google Docs, or whatever, and Irene wiped THOSE out, along with your local hardware.

  • you know that there are few things that are worse for electronics than water

    That's such a crock. Saltwater is actually an excellent conductor of electricity. Electronics need good conductors. Hence, electronics need saltwater.

    So relax and stop it with all that plywood and tarp. Have a beer instead.

    • you know that there are few things that are worse for electronics than water

      That's such a crock. Saltwater is actually an excellent conductor of electricity. Electronics need good conductors. Hence, electronics need saltwater.

      So relax and stop it with all that plywood and tarp. Have a beer instead.

      Idiot. Modern electronics need SEMICONDUCTORS. Salt water soaked plywood is an excellent semiconductor so it's just perfect. Add the silvery duct tape and you're ready to power up and rock and roll.

  • i've been through a few hurricanes in NYC and we have these things called windows to keep the water out. it's a rectangular hole cut into the building with multiple panes of glass with a metal frame and some sealing material around it.

    in some instances if there are extremely high winds predicted we put packing tape on the windows in an X shape in order to prevent shatter

    • by bws111 (1216812)

      It is stupidity like this that gets people in trouble. The last hurricane of this size to come near NYC was Gloria in 1985. It did several hundred millions of dollars of damage to NYC. If it had been a little closer to NYC and hit at high tide it would have been catastrophic.

      Your nice little X of packing tape is going to do a whole lot to stop a tree limb or 2x4 that is carried in 90MPH winds.

      • by alen (225700)

        i remember Gloria. we put some tape on the windows and stayed home watching TV. the damage was probably in the burbs or the burb parts of NYC. believe it or not most of NYC by area is private homes where you can't see manhattan at all. the part where all the work gets done is completely hurricane proof

        • by afidel (530433)
          Except all the financial computer systems that rely on power and other utilities that are housed in the basements of the buildings which could get swamped by the storm surge. I know a lot of that stuff has moved to Jersey, but I'm not sure how vulnerable that area is to storm surge.
      • by afidel (530433)
        You have to get a bit above 90mph before significant sized limbs get carried, heck we had 75 mph winds in the thunderstorm last night and while it will uproot some trees you don't see it carrying branches across yards.
  • by PPH (736903) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @03:53PM (#37211210)

    Our IT guys assured us we are OK. Cheetos absorb 47 times their weight in water.

  • Lay in supplies of wadded beef, creamed eels, and corn nog to feed the IT staff shackled to the A/C units.

  • "consider just moving your whole data center to a location that's been conveniently pre-hardened, like a water tower or a boiler room."

    So, move it to a place where if something does go wrong, in addition to the disaster you also have a huge tank of water nearby to douse your whole center? I'm not so sure I'd like that idea.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Well the article got it wrong.
      They moved it to an old water tank. It was not a tower.
      Those tanks are all concrete 8" thick actually and are ground level.
      They never fail and yes I am in Florida and been there and done that. I fear that New York is going to be an epic disaster since they have NO clue how to deal with this.

      • by Gorobei (127755)

        New York City will be fine. We deal with planes flying into buildings, sovereign defaults, and rats the size of polar bears.

        The NY suburbs might need to be told what do do, though.

  • by loconet (415875)

    So .. in the last few days we've had Tornados, Earthquakes and now a Hurricane? Someone is pissed at us.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Yeah, this is exactly what happens if you don't make the proper offerings to Poseidon. Well, except possibly the tornado part.

  • ...Altamonte Springs, FL put their data center in a decommissioned concrete water tank, located at grade, not an elevated tower.
  • by Kildjean (871084) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @05:00PM (#37212166) Homepage

    "Note that Irene has been no joke in the Caribbean; in Puerto Rico (with relatively modern infrastructure), about a third of the island lost power."

    Dont fucking insult me. Relatively modern infrastructure? We don't build our buildings with fucking wood and gypsum board... We use armed concrete... that is why we can take a Category 5 Hurricane (like Hugo) or Category 4 (like Georges or Katrina) and survive it without the DRAMA the US experienced with Katrina... When we get a hurricane like that, we receive it with Don Q Rum and in a Beach Chair...

    Now If you had said that the island was a step up from a third world country, I couldn't agree with you more... If the goverment agencies did their job right one third of the island wouldn't have lost power and water for more than a day... The services down there are such a fucking joke compared to 20yrs ago when a Category 5 Hurricane would cause the same inconveniences that this Category 1 hurricane caused.

    Don't let me get started on the "puppet" we got as a governor... he makes Obama look competent...

    • by hb253 (764272)
      Katrina was a big storm, but not ridiculously so. What destroyed New Orleans was flooding made extra destructive by the fact that the city is below sea level.
  • Earthquakes on the east coast, an impending hurricane too, then Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple, CmdrTaco gone too...... I think the apocalypse is upon us.

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