FCC Hurricane Michael after-action report

George Metz george.metz at gmail.com
Tue May 14 15:38:43 UTC 2019

There's more to it than this too. I was down there (I have sites I'm
responsible for in Panama City Beach) in February and I was talking to a
bunch of folks in the area as a result. This storm was fairly unusual for
the area for a number of reasons. One, it normally doesn't hit the
panhandle at anywhere near a category 5, and two, it was still a high
category 3 by the time it hit Georgia. The amount of damage done was
immense, is still not cleaned up (I drove past multiple buildings that were
still piles of rubble, 4 months after the storm), and I was seeing forests
full of damaged and destroyed trees all the way to I-10.

All in all, the vast majority of Panama City looked much more like 4 months
after a tornado rather than a hurricane, and all that damage continued all
the way into Georgia. Thinking this was just like any other hurricane to
hit the area is the absolute wrong tack to take - from what I heard there
was some discussion of whether it was worth it to reopen Tyndall AFB,
because the only thing left standing was some WWII era bomb-proof concrete

On the flip side, improvements in response are a good thing - as long as
people aren't beating up on the people who did the responding in the first
place without cause.

On Tue, May 14, 2019 at 9:52 AM Rich Kulawiec <rsk at gsp.org> wrote:

> On Mon, May 13, 2019 at 11:48:02PM -0500, frnkblk at iname.com wrote:
> > One of my takeaways from that article was that burying fiber underground
> > could likely have avoided many/most of these fiber cuts, though I???m
> > not familiar enough with the terrain to know how feasible that is.
> I suspect that may not be possible in (parts of) Florida.
> However, even in places where it's possible, fiber installation is
> sometimes miserably executed.  Like my neighborhood.  A couple of
> years ago, Verizon decided to finally bring FIOS in.  They put in the
> appropriate calls to utility services, who dutifully marked all the
> existing power/cable/gas/etc. lines and then their contractors (or
> sub-sub-contractors) showed up.
> The principle outcome of their efforts quickly became clear, as one
> Comcast cable line after another was severed.   Not a handful, not even
> dozens: well over a hundred.  They managed to cut mine in three places,
> which was truly impressive.  (Thanks for the extended outage, Verizon.)
> After this had gone on for a month, Comcast caught on and took the
> expedient route of just rolling a truck every morning.  They'd park at
> the end of the road and just wait for the service calls that they knew
> were coming.  Of course Comcast's lines were not the only victims of
> this incompetence and negligence.  Amusingly, sometimes Verizon had to
> send its own repair crews for their copper lines.
> There's a lot more but let me skip to the end result.  After inflicting
> months of outages on everyone, after tearing up lots of lawns, after all
> of this, many of the fiber conduits that are allegedly underground: aren't.
> ---rsk
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