Thursday, September 17, 2020

Hurricane Watch Net Secures (for Now)

 The Hurricane Watch Net has secured operations for Hurricanes Paulette and Sally. The net frequencies of 14.325 and 7.268 MHz are now available for normal amateur use. 

The following update is from Hurricane Watch Net Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV:

(Update: Thursday, September 16, 2020 @ 10:30 AM EDT – 1430 UTC)

The Hurricane Watch Net has completed another mini-marathon session…71 continuous hours. Seems like these long activations are coming around all too often. I suppose Mother Nature hasn’t been getting the attention she desires.

During this activation, we worked 2 hurricanes – Paulette and Sally. Sally was an unusual storm. Unusual in the sense that it all but stalled and meandered 100 miles offshore for a while before finally moving towards the shore. This makes planning for an activation a nightmare. One never knows when a storm will stall, slow, or speed up.

We activated Sunday at 5:00 PM EDT (2100 UTC) using both 14.325.00 MHz and 7.268.00 MHz. During the opening hours, we lined up reporting stations on the island and made sure we had good propagation to Bermuda as Hurricane Paulette was heading their direction.

Hurricane Paulette made landfall Monday morning, September 14th on the island of Bermuda around 5:00 AM AST (0900 UTC) as a Cat 1 Hurricane with sustained winds of 90 mph. We received numerous reports of widespread power and internet outages along with minor damage.

Once we completed operations for Hurricane Paulette, we quickly shifted our focus to what was soon to be Hurricane Sally. And within an hour of shifting our focus Sally was upgraded to a Cat 1 Hurricane with sustained winds of 90 mph.6

Sally was a forecasting nightmare with regards as to where it was headed. On Sunday, the forecast called for Tuesday landfall southeast of New Orleans. Then the track would shift to Bay Saint Louis on Tuesday evening. As time went on, the track kept shifting more to the east. Of course, Sally finally made landfall at Gulf Shores, AL Wednesday morning around 4:45 AM CDT (0945 UTC) as a strong Cat 2 Hurricane with sustained winds of 105 mph.

After landfall and Sally was downgraded to a Tropical Storm, we began calling for stations with reports of damage, storm surge, and flooding. The Net officially secured operations for Sally at 3:00 PM CDT (2000 UTC).

We are now keeping a close eye on Hurricane Teddy. Bermuda could be affected by another Hurricane by late Sunday night or early Monday morning. Also, we are keeping a close eye on a system that seems to be getting better organized in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.

As a side note, the next storm to be named will be Wilfred. After that, we start using the Greek Alphabet in which the first name will be Alpha. If we reach Alpha, it will be the 2nd time in history to use that name…the first was in 2005.

As always, our most sincere thanks to all who normally use 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz for their daily Nets and rag-chews. Having a clear frequency helps us with our mission and I know those in the Affected Area greatly appreciate it as well!

And lastly, please keep all who have been affected in your prayers.

Bobby Graves - KB5HAV