• Tracking Dorian: Hurricane Watch Net Hunkered Down for the Long Haul

    From ARRL de WD1CKS@VERT/WLARB to QST on Wednesday, September 04, 2019 15:05:23
    09/04/2019

    The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has been in continuous operation for Dorian since last Saturday at 2100 UTC, and it plans to remain in operation on 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz until further notice, HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. The storm, then a Category 5 hurricane, made landfall on Grand Bahama Island with maximum sustained winds of 180 MPH, where it stalled for a day and a half. Only on Tuesday did Dorian - by then a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 110 MPH - finally begin to move away from the Bahamas.

    "Members of the Hurricane Watch Net have been reading the latest bulletins and updates as well as making calls to the islands for any reports," Graves said. "However, when a storm is stalled over an area beginning with sustained winds of 180 MPH and slowly dropping to 110 MPH, major catastrophic damage is to be expected." The hurricane is known to have claimed 7 lives in the Bahamas. Unprecedented flooding has occurred.

    Video recorded by reconnaissance helicopters over the Abaco islands on Tuesday revealed the extent of damage the storm caused. Dorian pulled away from Grand Bahama Island overnight, and damage there is expected to be extensive.

    "The Hurricane Watch Net will continue to make calls to the Bahamian Islands for survivors and to collect and pass any and all emergency or priority traffic from the area," Graves said.

    As of 1100 UTC, Dorian was about 90 miles east of Daytona Beach, with sustained winds of 105 MPH, moving to the north-northwest at 8 MPH.

    "Although Dorian has weakened to a Category 2 hurricane, this storm remains powerful, dangerous, and deadly," Graves said. "Rip currents and strong surf along the Florida coast is to be expected. Please, do not drop your guard with this storm. Hurricanes do not always follow the forecasted track. This is why they are called forecasts."

    On its current forecast track, Dorian is expected to follow the Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina coastline, almost identical to the track of Hurricane Matthew in 2016. HWN will remain in full operation until Dorian is no longer a threat, Graves pledged.

    "We are also available to provide back-up communication to official agencies such as emergency operations centers, the Red Cross, and storm shelters in the affected area," Graves said. "We will also be interested to collect and report significant damage assessment data back to FEMA officials stationed in the National Hurricane Center."

    Graves thanked the Waterway Radio and Cruising Club Net for allowing the HWN to preempt their daily net on 7.268 MHz, the HWN's alternate frequency to its primary 14.325 MHz.

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