Carolina sites offer hurricane updates

The official World Wide Web pages for North Carolina (www.state.nc.us) and South Carolina (www.state.sc.us) both contain pertinent information about Hurricane Floyd for residents turning to the Internet for news and updates.

The North Carolina site contains steps for hurricane preparation as well as a letter from the state's chief information officer, Richard Webb.

Webb's letter, dated Sept. 14, announced that the state's Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) had officially activated its business continuity plan. The ITS' central facility, according to Webb's letter, has full backup power and could run mainframe computers, servers and telecommunications indefinitely if necessary. "Unless the building is damaged beyond repair, computer systems will remain operational," Webb wrote.

"MIS Directors in state and local governments have been put on alert and given emergency procedures to follow regarding equipment, telecommunications, data storage and safety precautions," according to the memo. "ITS telecommunications services is working with telecommunications vendors to reroute our data network in order to keep as many state and local governments as operational as possible."

"Right now, we're very much in a wait-and-see mood," Webb said in an interview from his Raleigh office Wednesday afternoon. He said the state has been linked to the Federal Emergency Management Agency through videoconferencing services provided by the North Carolina Information Highway.

"We're anticipating high winds...and feeling the effects of the hurricane similar to [Hurricane] Fran, which was quite damaging, even though we're two hours inland," Webb said.

The South Carolina site has links to its Emergency Preparedness Division, which offers evacuation maps, news from the governor, public school closings, animal evacuation information, state storm shelters, Floyd situation reports and more.

"We are strictly intertwined in the preparation and monitoring process," said Ted Lightle, director of South Carolina's Office of Information Resources. "Statewide telecommunications is our major responsibility, and we're also responsible for data storage. We put up the links, so anyone interested that didn't know [to go to the EPD site], could link in when they saw what we had up."

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