As the US government issues evacuation orders for the southeastern United States in anticipation of the Category 4 Hurricane Florence, data centres must prepare for the potential impact of the weather on their facilities.

The storm is expected to hit North Carolina, with different projections showing potential damage through South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia.

Major data centers located in the path of the storm include:

Apple has a 500,000 square foot data centre located in Maiden, North Carolina. The facility is powered by renewable energy provided by three solar farms located in the area. The high winds and water damage that could be caused by a Category 4 hurricane in the area could seriously impact both the facility itself and the solar farms from which it gets much of its power.

CenturyLink has several data centres throughout North Carolina, mostly located in or around the inland urban centres of Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro. However, even inland sites can be affected by the strong winds and heavy rains associated with a storm of this magnitude.

TierPoint has facilities located in the same areas as CenturyLink, with four in Charlotte and three in Raleigh.  

Facebook has two data centres in the small town of Forest City, North Carolina.

Each building has more than 300,000 square feet of usable space.

While the path of the storm is unclear as yet, should it turn north, the North Virginia data corridor near Ashburn and Reston may be threatened as well.

A recent report named North Virginia as the world’s largest market for data centres, supporting thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenues for the area.

Additionally, as part of storm preparation, many SMEs are migrating data and backups to offsite data centres which may, themselves, be in the path of the storm.

Most data centres are built to withstand natural disasters and have a disaster recovery plan in place.

Businesses should know if critical data is stored in these data centres, either through colocation or cloud services and may want to consider completing a backup of critical data to another facility that is out of the path of the storm, to alleviate any potential disruption in services.