It must have felt like déjà vu for the T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T engineering teams working to restore their networks Oct. 11 after Hurricane Delta made landfall on the coast of Louisiana. Just six weeks previously, Hurricane Laura hit the same area.
On Oct. 10, 459 cell towers were out of service in Louisiana, 10.2 percent of the total, according to the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS). Cell sites out because of damage numbered 175, loss of power totaled 200 and loss of backhaul totaled 76.
Texas had 144 towers out of service, 2.6 percent of the total, and Mississippi had 62 towers out of service, 5.2 percent of the total.
On Oct. 12, T-Mobile reported that it has restored its network in Memphis, Tennessee, but sites remain affected in the Houston and Mobile, Alabama, markets.
“We have a large number of generators deployed, and our teams continue to work quickly to restore those sites as soon as possible,” the company said on its web site.
Verizon also reported that backup batteries and generators were keeping cell sites online where commercial power is out.
AT&T said it had made “significant” progress the day after the storm with 97 percent of its sites online.
“Extensive flooding and commercial power outages may be causing service interruptions for a small number of wireline customers and we are working diligently to address this,” the company said. “While some areas may still be inaccessible because of storm damage and debris, our teams are making repairs as quickly and safely as conditions allow.”
As the storm moved though the southeast, Verizon said it was experiencing isolated outages at cell sites widely scattered in Tennessee and the Carolinas.
“The network teams are maintaining vigilant monitoring of the network as the storm moves through the southeast and are standing by to respond,” Verizon’s web site said.
Ground zero for destruction for both Hurricanes Laura and Delta was Calcasieu parish, home of Lake Charles.
As of Oct. 10, Calcasieu had 83 towers out of service or 45 percent of the 184 sites in the area. In the wake of Laura, as of Aug. 29, 116 out of 185 towers were out of service or 62.7 percent. It also lost miles of power lines.
Laura, Marco also Leave Their Mark
Of the cell towers in Louisiana in the path of Tropical Storm Marco and Hurricane Laura, 417 were knocked out of service (or 9 percent of 4,640 cell towers, according to the FCC’s DIRS.
A map of the outages clearly depicts where the storms were at their greatest intensity and the corridor of their movement. On the coast, Cameron parish lost 25 of 29 cell towers or 86.2 percent. The storm then moved north with even greater force into Calcasieu. As the storm moved inland, Beauregard parish lost 25 of its 58 cell towers or 43.1 percent.
To the east of Calcasieu parish, Jefferson Davis parish lost 14 of 40 towers or 35 Percent. North of Jefferson Davis, Allen parish saw 26 of 45 cell towers knocked out of service or 57.8 percent.
Next in line for devastation were Vernon parish, which lost 45 of 100 towers, or 45 percent, and Rapides parish, which had 50 of 175 towers knocked out of service or 28.6 percent. La Salle, to the north and east, appears to be most northern parish to lose a substantial percentage of communications, losing 11 of 24 cell towers or 45.8 percent. After that the storm seems to have weakened.