Coast Guard restores storm-shuttered systems

The Coast Guard has restored almost all the shore facilities it closed as a result of Hurricane Isabel. The Guard began experiencing outages in the Mid-Atlantic beginning on Thursday that lasted for at least 24 hours in most areas.

Kevin Patrick, IT chief petty officer with the Command Electronics Support Unit in Portsmouth, Va., said the service had shut down several sites in the storm's path.

'Not all the networks stayed up,' Patrick said. 'In some areas of North Carolina, we shut them down, powering down the equipment. In the area where they assumed the storm would hit, at Ocrakoke Island, they actually took the equipment, the router and the servers, when they evacuated the facility.' In some other areas, such as Cape Hatteras, Coast Guard personnel powered down their facilities but did not remove equipment.

'We lost about eight sites from North Carolina to Southern Virginia,' Patrick said. 'As of today, we only have one down.'

Before the storm hit, the Coast Guard set up a team of electronics and computer technicians in Rocky Mount, N.C. When Dare County emergency operations officials allowed them to return to Cape Hatteras, the team assessed the damages and started repairs, Patrick said. The Guard's Hatteras facility was up and operational yesterday, he said.

Coast Guard shore stations communicate using a UHF/VHF radio system known as the High Site to link facilities up and down the coast, Patrick said. 'When the power went down, we lost a big chunk of the High Site,' he said.

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