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August 31, 2017

KUBRA Responds to Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey originally made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm on August 25, 2017 and has set a U.S. record for rainfall from a single storm at 51 inches of rain so far. The National Hurricane Center is predicting additional rain as the storm moves into southwestern Louisiana and western Kentucky. The storm is expected to calm to a tropical depression by the end of August 30.¹

Amidst the ongoing storm, utilities are rushing to bring power back to those affected. However, obstacles such as flooding, inaccessible roads, and downed trees present significant challenges to restoration. Utilities have been working long shifts and even resorting to the use of an air boat to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.²

The KUBRA team has been working hard to do our part to help during the storm as well. As mentioned in our earlier report, multiple proactive measures were taken before the storm hit to make sure we were equipped to keep our Storm Center outage maps and Notifi alert systems up and running for the millions of people who depend on them for information.

The Storm Center outage maps proved instrumental during the storm by providing reliable outage information to residents, public officials, and emergency operations groups. Articles in the Washington Post, The Statesman, and CBS News have also referenced Storm Center outage data, which in turn helped keep the public informed. Storms often drive a large of amount of traffic to the outage maps, and can even become the most visited page on a utility’s website. Between Friday, August 25 and Wednesday, August 30, the KUBRA outage maps deployed in the area received a total of 1.1 million views.

In addition to the Storm Center outage maps, KUBRA also had many active Notifi implementations in the affected area. Notifi was used to keep customers informed through proactive outage alerts, outage reports, and outage status updates through the customers’ preferred communications channels. During the storm, over 420,000 customers were eligible to receive outage alerts through deployments at Austin Energy, CLECO, CoServ, and Oncor. Between August 25 and August 30, nearly 194,000 messages were sent, including almost 115,000 proactive outage alerts. During the same dates, over 6,000 outages were reported via two-way text. The storm also drove 8,500 new account registrations for future alerts, with one utility even seeing a 274% increase in total registrations.

The screenshots below give just a glimpse into the severity of this storm and the enormous number of outages that occurred as a result. These screenshots were taken on Sunday, August 27, after the worst of the hurricane hit over the weekend and show the peak amount of outages in the area.

AEP Texas

 

Austin Energy 

 

CLECO 

 

CoServ

 

Entergy Texas

 

Mississippi Power

 

Oncor 

 

KUBRA will continue monitoring the storm and the resulting restoration efforts, and will provide updates as soon as they are available.

 

 

¹CNN at http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/30/us/harvey-texas-louisiana/index.html

²NRECA at https://www.electric.coop/texas-co-ops-continue-hurricane-recovery/