The following is an update from our friends at the Hurricane Watch Net, who are now keeping watch on three hurricanes simultaneously...
(Update: Wednesday, September 06, 2017 @ 5:30 PM EDT (2130 UTC)
I’m not sure who made Mother Nature mad, but, they should be spanked. We now have 3 Hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin: Irma (Cat 5), José (Cat 1) – following behind Irma, and Katia (Cat 1) in the Gulf of Mexico.
It now looks like the Hurricane Watch Net will be working on 2 landfalling hurricanes. Irma is still affecting the Puerto Rico and heading towards the Turks and Caicos Islands. Over the next few days, Irma will affect Hispaniola, Cuba, the Bahamas, and Florida. Katia is forecast to make landfall somewhere between Tampico and Veracruz, Mexico late Friday evening-early Saturday morning.
Hurricane Irma remains an extremely dangerous hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph (295km/h). Katia and José have maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h). We are currently working stations affected by Irma, which could last through the weekend, maybe longer. It appears we will be working stations affected by Katia beginning early Friday.
Adding to the mix of 3 hurricanes, our sun unleashed a series of solar flares, one a massive Class X-9.3 – the most powerful flare in over a decade. This solar flare caused a near total communications blackout for most of the morning and early afternoon.
As a reminder, our Net will remain in continuous operation until further notice. Daytime operations on 14.325 MHz will begin at 7:00 AM EDT – 1100 UTC each day continuing for as long as propagation allows. Nighttime operations will be on 7.268 MHz starting at 6:00 PM EDT – 2200 UTC and continue overnight. If propagation dictates, we will operate both frequencies at the same time.
Note: Operations on 7.268 MHz will pause at 7:30 AM ET, and, if required, resume at approximately 8:30 AM ET. This will allow the Waterway Net to conducts their daily net.
Any change in Net Operation plans will be noted here, on our website, the networks of 14.300.00 MHz, and many additional amateur radio networks and media.
As with any net activation, HWN requests observed ground-truth data from those in the affected area (Wind Speed, Wind Gust, Wind Direction, Barometric Pressure – if available, Rainfall, Damage, and Storm Surge). Measured weather data is always appreciated but estimated data is accepted. We will also be interested to collect and report significant damage assessment data back to FEMA officials stationed in the National Hurricane Center.
In addition to collecting weather data for the forecasters at the National Hurricane Centers and reading the latest advisories, bulletins, and updates, we can also handle any emergency or priority traffic. Additionally, we are available to provide backup communications to official agencies such as Emergency Operations Centers and Red Cross officials in the affected area.
As with any net activation, HWN requests observed ground-truth data from those in the affected area (Wind Speed, Wind Gust, Wind Direction, Barometric Pressure – if available, Rainfall, Damage, and Storm Surge). Measured weather data is always appreciated but estimated data is accepted.
As always, we are praying and hoping for the best yet preparing for the worst.
Bobby Graves - KB5HAV
Hurricane Watch Net