Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hurricane Watch Net update - widespread damage reported in British Virgin Islands

The following is from our friends at the Hurricane Watch Net – widespread damage reported on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands…
(Update: Sunday, September 10, 2017 @ 9:30 AM EDT (1330 UTC)
The Hurricane Watch Net remains at Alert Level 5 – Catastrophic Response Mode.
The Net is operating on both 14.325.00 MHz and 7.268.00 MHz.

Around 8:40 AM EDT – 1240 UTC, we received a report from the island of Tortola (British Virgin Islands) of massive wide-spread damage.

This is an extremely dangerous hurricane and we greatly appreciate everyone allowing us a clear frequency. It not only helps our Net Control Stations but, and more importantly, those who are affected area in need of help.

Throughout our Net activation, members of the Hurricane Watch Net will be disseminating weather advisories as well as handling Emergency and Priority Traffic from ALL areas affected by Irma.

We will remain operational on 14.325.00 MHz (USB) until 7:00 PM EDT – 2300 UTC or for as long as propagation allows. We will begin our nighttime frequency of 7.268.00 MHz (LSB) and continue operations overnight.

As a reminder, our Net will remain in continuous operation until further notice.

Note: Operations on 7.268.00 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.

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 will be making for calls for those with Emergency or Priority traffic. Many areas have been severely affected by Irma and are just now beginning to get HF communications somewhat restored. Additionally, we are available to provide backup communications to official agencies such as Emergency Operations Centers and Red Cross officials in all areas affected by Irma.

I wish to sincerely thank the daily users of 14.325.00 and 7.268.00 MHz to allow us to serve our fellow man in a serious time of need. We do pray this storm is over soon as we, members of the Hurricane Watch Net - many who have regular working jobs - have taken time off to assist in this Hurricane Weather Emergency. Please bear with us as we continue to help those affected and yet to be affected. We will return these frequencies to normal amateur radio use as soon as this Weather Emergency has passed.

Please, keep those who are in the path of these dangerous hurricanes in your thoughts and prayers!

As always, we are praying and hoping for the best yet preparing for the worst.

Bobby Graves - KB5HAV
Hurricane Watch Net
Net Manager