Record Snow and Rainfall Causes Power Outages in Arizona

February 22, 2019

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

We’re used to winter storms dumping snow and ice in New England and the Midwest, often knocking out power to businesses and residents.  But a major storm that swept across much of Arizona serves as a reminder that storms can happen anywhere.  A combination of heavy rain in the Phoenix area and snow in the highlands made for treacherous travel conditions yesterday.

By 5:00pm Thursday, Flagstaff Airport reported more than 31 inches of snow, breaking the previous record set back in 1915, according to the National Weather Service.  By later in the evening, the total had reached three feet.   While the snowfall wasn’t nearly as significant closer to the Valley, even areas just north of Phoenix reported snow and/or ice, including Flagstaff.

Phoenix set its own record, breaking a daily rainfall record of .73 inches from 1973.  The heavy rain and flash flooding caused dangerous road conditions, knocked power out for thousands of utility customers, and caused the first Major League Baseball spring training game of the year to be cancelled between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland As.

In addition to traffic lights not functioning, creating travel difficulties, outages to businesses mean lost revenue.  Just as cyber attacks can bring a business to its knees, power outages can also cripple operations and, just as cyber security has often been an afterthought for business leaders, so have power protection systems.

Power protection systems, starting with basic UPS products and moving through a range of power management and business continuity solutions, are critical to protecting business assets, including hardware, software, and data.  When power is knocked out, surges can damage equipment, causing them to malfunction and corrupting data and applications that are needed for businesses to function.

Businesses should take a holistic look at their operations to determine how to effectively safeguard systems and operational continuity.  Power outages are unpredictable and can happen at any time and, while keeping systems running during long outages may require an additional investment in a backup generator, a power protection solution can keep systems running for short periods.  At the very least, they ensure that, once power is restored, network, communications, storage, security and other technology is fully functional so business activities can resume normally.

Edited by Erik Linask