08-08-13 | Blog Post

Michigan Data Centers Offer Little Hurricane Risk

Blog Posts

This week I will be focusing on one of the most destructive natural disasters – hurricanes.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted that 2013 will be an “active or extremely active” hurricane season with a 70 percent chance of 13-20 “named storms” in the Atlantic.

Hurricane High Risk Locations
Hurricanes are large, spiraling tropical storms that can reach up to 160 miles per hour and unleash more than 2.4 trillion gallons of rain a day.  In the Atlantic, hurricane season starts June 1st and ends November 30th and in the Pacific, the season starts May 15th and ends November 30th.

Hurricane Risk
Hurricane Risk; Source: http://www.crisishq.com/why-prepare/us-natural-disaster-map

We can see that the U.S. eastern and southeastern coasts experience the highest risks of hurricanes.  According to the NOAA, 80% of all major hurricanes strike either Florida or Texas, which begs the question why so many data centers are built in these two hurricane-prone states?  Other states that offer high probability and large number of data centers are Georgia, New York and New Jersey.

Some of the safest regions include the Midwest including the states of Illinois, Ohio and Michigan.  None of these states have had direct hurricane hits.  Other states in the west such as California and Washington have not been directly impacted by hurricanes.

Hurricanes Direct Hits on US


No. of Data Centers

No. Hurricanes

Disaster Declarations





















New Jersey




New York
















Source:  www.fema.gov

Hurricane Severity
These destructive tropical storms are a threat to data centers because they bring with them high winds, flooding, coastal storm surges and tornadoes.   Hurricane winds range from 74 mph to greater than 155 mph and responsible for structural damage.  The heavy rains that come with hurricanes are responsible for major flooding in areas where the storm normally strikes, but also can affect hundreds of miles from where the storm made landfall.  The storm surge is the most dangerous and destructive part of a hurricane.  As a hurricane approaches the coast the winds drive the water onto the shore causing water to rise rapidly and flooding can occur.

Although tornadoes can happen anywhere and anytime and more intense, hurricanes stay around longer, cover more ground and cause more overall damage.  In a 1998 NOAA study, researchers found that hurricanes cause about $3 billion dollars in damage every time they touch the ground.

If we look at the number of FEMA disaster declarations, we can gain an understanding of which geographical  areas see the greatest damage due to hurricanes.  Florida, Texas, and Louisiana lead the country in 26+ disaster declarations.

Next, if we focus on other states with the highest number of data centers New York has declared 17 disasters and New Jersey has declared 13.  Once again we see a low number of disasters in the Midwest with Michigan and Illinois claiming 1 disaster and Ohio 3.

Hurricane Severity
Hurricane Severity

Michigan Data Centers Offer No Hurricane Risks
No hurricane has ever been observed in Michigan and hurricanes that have become extratropical, losing its tropical characteristics, rarely reach the state.  The past 80 years of NOAA data suggests that hurricane or tropical storm remnants make their way to Michigan, on average, twice a decade.  And by the time the remnants of the storm reach Michigan, it has diminished to rain and strong winds. Therefore, Michigan data centers offer a safe haven for many organizations looking for a hosting provider or disaster recovery location free from hurricane risks.

Read more about our Michigan data centers:

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan Data Center
    With close proximity to major highways and the University of Michigan, and geographically separate from our other data center, this managed data center offers an ideal location for high availability production and disaster recovery.
  • Ann Arbor 2, Michigan Data Center
    Our newest Ann Arbor data center is located south of Ann Arbor, Michigan in Avis Park. With close proximity to major highways and the University of Michigan, this facility offers an ideal location for high availability production and disaster recovery.
  • Mid-Michigan Data Center
    Our data center in Genesee County is ideally located in Southeast Michigan on a different power grid than Detroit and surrounding suburbs. This data center offers premier hosting facilities for mid-sized firms.

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