Hurricane Watch Net Set to Activate as Caribbean Prepares for Dorian
From ARRL de WD1CKS@VERT/WLARB to QST on Monday, August 26, 2019 18:42:28
The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) says that with Tropical Storm Dorian forecast to become a Category 1 Hurricane sometime early Tuesday afternoon, Puerto Rico will feel begin to feel the storm's effects later that day. If the storm tracks a bit to the north, the island could take a direct hit. Dorian is expected to make landfall on Thursday, August 29 on the eastern part of the Dominican Republic. The Hurricane Watch Net is planning to activate at 1400 UTC on Wednesday, August 28, on both 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz, and it will remain in operation until further notice. The HWN today inched up its Alert Level to 2, Monitoring Mode, as it keeps an eye on Tropical Storm Dorian, and Hurricane Warnings already are in effect for Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
"We are alert to the weather cyclones - preparing but hoping for the best," Puerto Rico Section Manager Oscar Resto, KP4RF, said. The National Hurricane Center says interests in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Hispaniola "should monitor the progress of Dorian as watches for these areas later could be required later today."
Radio amateurs on the island already are monitoring the storm's trajectory, and a VHF net was activated to share information on Dorian's predicted route and how to prepare.
As of 1500 UTC on August 26, the National Hurricane Center said hurricane conditions are possible in portions of the northern Windward Islands, and tropical storm conditions expected in the Windward Islands later today. The storm was some 90 miles east-southeast of Barbados, with maximum sustained winds of 60 MPH, moving west-northwest at 14 MPH.
Over the weekend, on Saturday, Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) Commissioner Carlos Acevedo urged the island's resident to put into effect the Family Plan the agency has suggested for emergencies. This includes ensuring a first line of defense in terms of water, canned goods, medicines, batteries, and fuel for power generators. Residents heeded the advice, heading out to markets around the island to purchase water and supplies, and later that day, hundreds of people went to supermarkets to buy water and other supplies in larger-than-usual quantities. By Sunday, vendors were limiting bottled water to between two and five packages, depending on locale.
The government of Puerto Rico is assuring the public that it's better prepared than it was for Hurricanes Irma and Maria 2 years ago. New Commonwealth Governor Wanda V zquez has been meeting with agency heads to make sure storm preparation plans are in place.
"About 30,000 people still have blue roofs installed in the wake of Irma and Maria," Puerto Rico PIO Angel Santana, WP3GW, told ARRL. He said this situation presents a primary safety concern for those affected residents.
WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center informed ARRL today that it's also planning to activate on Wednesday, August 28, at 1500 UTC, for what is anticipated by then to be Hurricane Dorian. That's in line with forecasts predicting the storm's closest approach to Puerto Rico. WX4NHC will work with the HWN and remain active until Dorian makes landfall in the Dominican Republic.