This blog post will be updated. Last update: 12:05 p.m. Tuesday, 9/12
Irma, now a post-tropical cyclone, is forecast to continue to weaken as it brings moderate to locally heavy rain to parts of the lower Mississippi Valley, Tennessee Valley, and the southern Mid-Atlantic.
In its 11 a.m. ET advisory, NHC said Tuesday that the storm is 55 miles north-northwest of Birmingham, Alabama. Irma continues to lose tropical characteristics as it moves northwestward toward the Tennessee Valley. Irma will keep weakening throughout the day on Tuesday.
The powerful storm caused widespread devastation in the Caribbean and Florida, killing at least 40 people.
President Donald Trump tweeted early Tuesday, "The devastation left by Hurricane Irma was far greater, at least in certain locations,than anyone thought - but amazing people working hard!"
Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys early Sunday as a Category 4 storm with winds near 130 mph.
FEMA estimates that 25% of the houses in the Keys have been destroyed, reports CNN. Another 65% have major damage.
"Basically, every house in the Keys was impacted some way," said FEMA administrator Brock Long early Tuesday.
"Continue to listen to local officials on when to return home," Governor Rick Scott tweeted early Tuesday.
Currently, more than 5.6 million customers in Florida— at least 60% of the state — are without power.
"We could have power down for the coming weeks. Weeks," said National Security adviser Tom Bossert Monday afternoon.
To apply for FEMA assistance, click here.
HOW VOLOGY IS ASSISTING
Vology, a leading Managed IT Service Provider headquartered in Clearwater, Fla., is ready to assist those impacted by the storm. If you need immediate assistance, please call us at (888) 808-2199.
Our business continuity and disaster recovery plan was enacted September 5 to ensure no lapse in service for our customers.
To echo what officials are reiterating – your safety is most important. If you haven't already, prepare a disaster kit with the following items:
- Non-perishable food (enough to last at least three days)
- Water (enough to last at least three days)
- Prescription medication
- First-aid kit
- Personal hygiene items
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- Battery operated radio
- Manual can opener
- Lighter or matches
- Pet supplies
- Baby supplies
PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS
After your disaster kit is finalized, we suggest small to mid-sized businesses take the following precautions:ENSURE YOU HAVE A RECENT BACKUP
Backing up your company's data should be happening frequently. But, ensure you get in one last backup before the storm hits.
REVIEW YOUR DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN
Is your disaster recovery plan updated? Have you even tested your DR plan? If so, when was the last time? The fact is, your disaster recovery plan is critical to avoiding costly downtime.
UPGRADE TO THE CLOUD
By moving critical applications and databases off of on-premise servers and into the cloud, you can help to protect those assets in the event of a failure at your facility. Cloud-based applications and data are always ready when you are. As soon as you have the means to get back online, you could be back in business.
REVIEW YOUR ASSETS
Doing a thorough inventory of all of your IT assets will allow you to document everything for insurance purposes. While you're at it, take pictures of every piece of equipment. Record and photograph all serial numbers when applicable. Tag your critical assets in case you need to move them in a hurry.
SAFEGUARD YOUR EQUIPMENT
While it will be impossible to save every piece of equipment, you can avoid losing everything by simply moving all workstations sitting on the floor on top of desks and tables. Be sure to elevate all power cords and wires. If possible, unplug your machines and wrap them (and their cords/wires) in plastic with duct tape.
INFORM YOUR STAFF
Your employees are your greatest asset. Keep them up to speed on your company's emergency preparations. Consider a hotline, email blast, or phone tree to keep employees informed about the storm and daily business operations.
- Hurricane Preparedness from the American Red Cross
- Hurricane Preparedness from the National Weather Service
- Hurricane Preparedness from the Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Hurricane Preparedness from the State of Florida
- Florida Division of Emergency Management