The FCC activated its Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) for Tropical Storms Marco (which fizzled out as it reached the Louisiana coast) and Laura as they threaten the Gulf states, including Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, Inside Towers reported. DIRS is activated for all the counties in Arkansas and Louisiana and a subset of counties in Mississippi and Texas.
Hurricane Laura will make landfall as a major hurricane, with winds of around 115 mph and a storm surge up to 11 feet, when it strikes near the Louisiana-Texas border late Wednesday or early Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Laura was declared a hurricane Tuesday morning. “Significant strengthening” is predicted, NHC forecaster Eric Blake said in his advisory.
A hurricane warning is now in effect from San Luis Pass, Texas — just south of Galveston — to Intracoastal City, LA, meaning hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, NPR reported. Laura entered the Gulf on Tuesday and is currently moving west-northwest – and forecasters say its long westward trip across the water will give it time to build. Laura is expected to become a Category 3 storm, which routinely causes “devastating damage” to homes, trees and infrastructure, according to the National Weather Service.
Carriers began reporting their operational status of cell sites in the impacted areas Tuesday. As of noon yesterday, 64 (0.8%) out of 7,766 cell sites were out in Texas. The majority were non-operational due to transport issues, 12 lacked power and seven were damaged, according to DIRS. All 2,311 cell sites were working in the impacted areas of Mississippi. Four sites out of 4,644 in Louisiana were not working, mostly due to transport issues. In Arkansas, four sites out of 3,533 were affected by the storm.
Cable and wireline companies reported 11,539 subscribers out of service in the affected areas; this may include the loss of telephone, television, and/or internet services. No stations reported being off the air.