July 12, 2019

Utilities Prepare as Tropical Storm Barry Heads to New Orleans

Tropical Storm Barry’s storm surge, heavy rain, and high winds across the northern and central Gulf Coast are expected to turn into a hurricane by Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center. As the first hurricane of the season, Barry will make landfall over the central Louisiana coast near Morgan City. The storm is expected to weaken after Barry moves inland.

State authorities immediately closed floodgates and raised the barriers around the New Orleans metropolitan area of 1.3 million people to help avoid disastrous flooding. Approximately 10,000 people in exposed areas along the Gulf coast were told to evacuate. However, no evacuations have been ordered in New Orleans and city officials are urging residents to “shelter in place” instead.

Tropical Storm Barry

Additionally, approximately 3,000 National Guard troops and other rescue crews have been posted around the state with boats, high-water vehicles, and helicopters, according to AP News. 

Tropical Storm Barry

New Orleans, LA. on Friday, July 12, 2019. The area is behind a flood wall that protects the rest of the city. (AP Photo)

Utility companies in the area are monitoring the weather closely and preparing for the potential impacts of Tropical Storm Barry. Teams of nearly 2,000 crew members from the Louisiana area are mobilized to respond quickly and assist with restoration once the storm passes. 

These utilities are also preparing for the hurricane by informing their customers with near real-time communications. Utilities with the KUBRA Notifi® alerts and preference management platform are sending proactive alerts through customer-preferred channels such as text, email, and voice.

It is also recommended that utilities continue to prepare and inform their customers in the following ways:

1. Ensure customers know about your mobile app so they can quickly report and check on the status of power outages.

2. Encourage customers to view your outage map via mobile or desktop as an additional way to view outage updates and restoration progress.

3. Promote your text message program so customers can send and receive text messages about storm and restoration efforts.

4. Ask customers to follow your social media channels for real-time updates.

Keeping customers informed will help instill trust and confidence as Tropical Storm Barry unfolds.

KUBRA is also taking a proactive approach to planning for the potential impacts of the storm as extensive use of customer communications systems including KUBRA Storm Center outage maps and KUBRA Notifi alerts sent by text message, email and voice notifications are expected. To prepare, KUBRA is checking KUBRA-hosted server health including system logs and application logs, verifying resources are available for any system that might see increased storm traffic, and coordinating 24×7 support plans for increased KUBRA resource availability.