As discussed in a recent post, Force On Target is often helpful in thinking through Supply Chain Resilience. In the case of Hurricane Idalia the Force that hit Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas was more fierce than forecast two days prior to landfall. Rather than a Category 1 or 2 hurricane, it reached CAT4 and came ashore as a CAT3. The forecast track was remarkably consistent, so anticipated targets were by-in-large the actual targets.
Given the track, my principal Supply Chain Resilience worry was potential impacts of storm surge at Tampa Bay and especially the fuel infrastructure supporting local racks and the Central Florida Pipeline. If Tropical Force Winds (see first map below) and predicted storm surge had breached sea walls and port-side structures the consequences could be wide-spread, time-extended, and deeply troublesome. So… on Wednesday about 0400 local when the ocean buoy nearest that fuel infrastructure showed that the bay had moved past high-tide with a survivable peak (see chart below), there was palpable relief.
Beyond Tampa Bay my next priority concern was direct population impacts — and issues with demand-signaling — at and near landfall. As the Force factor increased my Target zone did as well, extending into Southern Georgia. A colleague did a great job of sizing the space and population that would be the principal target. Please see the two maps below.
The much deeper (if narrower) target zone on the second map is not dense with supply chain capacity. It is, in fact, almost a “demand desert” characterized by sparse population and high-proportional poverty (here is the census summary for Taylor County, site of landfall). The potential for this already anemic demand to be further isolated was a real concern as Idalia tore across rural areas of the Southeast United States. Especially given the potential for delayed indicators of increased isolation, it will be another day or so before I can confidently assess the ability of dispersed demand to access supply that has mostly recovered, but remains at least as distant as before Idalia arrived.