Amateur Radio Resources Ready as Dorian Poised to Become a Major Hurricane
From ARRL de WD1CKS@VERT/WLARB to QST on Thursday, August 29, 2019 14:49:39
Amateur Radio resources organized this week as Hurricane Dorian worked its way through the Caribbean, threatening Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. A change in direction spared Puerto Rico - still recovering from hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 - from taking a direct hit; the Virgin Islands suffered downed trees and widespread power outages. As of August 29, Dorian was a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds near 85 MPH with higher gusts. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has predicted that Dorian will strengthen and become a major hurricane on Friday and could make landfall on Florida's southeastern coast. Heavy rainfall generated by Dorian could cause flash flooding, the NHC said.
"We are standing by in a ready-to-respond state once a more definitive track is known," Southern Florida Section Manager Barry Porter, KB1PA, told ARRL Headquarters. He reported that there have been no evacuations ordered, and that the Florida Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and the Red Cross are in "preparation mode."
The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) activated on Wednesday for about 9 hours on 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz, working in conjunction with WX4NHC at the NHC in Miami to provide "ground truth" weather data to forecasters. The VoIP Hurricane Net also is believed to have activated.
"The Hurricane Watch Net will be closely monitoring the progress of Dorian," HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said Wednesday evening. "The current forecast, which is subject to change, is for Dorian to strengthen to a Category 3 Hurricane and threaten the east coast of Florida." Graves said the HWN would reactivate once the storm got closer to the US coast.
The ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team is also monitoring the situation closely. ARRL officials are in regular communication with partner agencies, particularly FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, ARRL HQ remains in close contact with Field Organization officials in the affected region, where some ARRL Ham Aid equipment was previously positioned.
W1AW, which had already planned to be in operation for the Hiram Percy Maxim 150th Birthday special event this weekend, will remain ready to assist with emergency communications.
Visit the ARRL website or the Hurricane Watch Net website for updates on the progress of Hurricane Dorian.