Science & Tech
Hurricane Sandy knocks down cell phone service, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and more
The Halloween-week Frankenstorm known as Hurricane Sandy no longer has "hurricane" status, but its wrath is still being felt across the entire continental U.S. and beyond. As of Tuesday afternoon, many major cell service carriers are still unable to provide service to their customers, and some of the most popular sites on the Internet have had their servers sandbagged by Sandy.
As of press time Tuesday afternoon, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are still suffering from network damages, and many customers in the Northeast U.S. are still without cell phone service. Meanwhile, the popular web sites Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and the Gawker network of sites had their servers knocked out by the storm -- and some of those servers are still down today.
While Hurricane Sandy is technically no longer a hurricane, she's still doing damage galore. Many residents of New York and New Jersey are without cell phone service after Monday night's widespread flooding in New York City knocked out data centers, offices, and back-up power sources.
The cellular service carriers have issued pleas to customers to text loved ones instead of calling, because text messages are less overwhelming to the carriers' networks. Many of these networks are currently operating on battery or back-up power, and they can use all the help they can get to maintain stability.
Oddly, the services worked well during the initial storm and flood Monday night. Most affected customers lost their service between 10 a.m. and Noon ET Tuesday morning. The carriers have not yet given time estimates on when service will be restored.
Internet service is generally unaffected, but actual web sites sure have taken a hit. The news aggregators Buzzfeed and Huffington Post were down for several hours, but are now back up. Their data centers and backup data centers were all knocked out by the flooding.
It's hard to blame these sites for the downtime. Buzzfeed explained on their Tumblr, "Basement flooded, fuel pump off line - we got people working on it now. 5 feet of water now." That's five feet of water indoors.
The Gawker network of sites, including Deadspin, Jezebel, and Gizmodo, all still experiencing server outages. The sites have messages reading, "Our New York City data center is still offline thanks to Hurricane Sandy. We are working as quickly as possible to restore the full site." The sites then redirect to stripped-down, backup versions of the web pages.
If you've lost cell phone service, let us know in the comments. Online comments are one of the most effective methods of tracking the severity of these outages. And do be careful out there, folks.