The Hurricane Watch Net has (HWN) has announced plans to activate for Tropical Storm Hermine at 1400 UTC. The storm is expected to develop into a hurricane before making landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The net typically operates on 14.325 MHz until nightfall, then moves 7.268 MHz for the remainder of the evening. Given current band conditions, however, the HWN will be active on both frequencies simultaneously. The net will remain in operation until further notice, HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said.
“It seems we’ve been tracking this system, which began as a tropical disturbance, for nearly 2 weeks,” Graves said. “Yesterday, this system finally became Tropical Storm Hermine. It is expected to make landfall late Thursday evening or early Friday morning as a Category 1 Hurricane somewhere between Panama City Beach and Cedar Key, Florida…of course, this could change.”
As of 1200 UTC, Hermine was reported strengthening. It’s located about 235 miles west-southwest of Tampa with maximum sustained winds of 65 MPH, moving north-northeast at 12 MPH. A Hurricane Warning is in effect from the Suwannee River to Mexico Beach. The NWS said interests along the US East Coast should monitor the progress of this system.
Graves said the HWN would be available to provide back-up communication to entities such as emergency operations centers and Red Cross offices in the affected area. “We will also be interested to collect and report significant damage assessment data to FEMA officials stationed in the National Hurricane Center,” he added.
Florida’s Emergency Operations Center is at full activation, and evacuation shelters are on standby.
SKYWARN Tracking Pacific Hurricane Lester
ARRL Pacific Section Emergency Coordinator Clement Jung, KH7HO, said the National Weather Service (NWS) will activate SKYWARN for Hurricane Lester at 1800 UTC on Saturday, September 3, continuing until midnight on Sunday, September 4. All four Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) districts on the Big Island of Hawaii remain in active status for Hurricane Lester, to support each other and served agencies. KH6SW remains on the air from the NWS Honolulu Forecast Office on HF, VHF, and UHF.
The NWS reports that a weakening Madeline, now a tropical storm, was passing “well south of the Big Island,” with maximum sustained winds of 50 MPH, but the storm was dumping a lot of rain on the Big Island, and a flood advisory was in effect for some areas. Predictions call for up to 10 inches of rain, and possibly more. A SKYWARN activation for Madeline has been discontinued.
Hurricane Lester, now a category 2 storm, continues its westward movement toward the Hawaiian Islands. As of 0900 UTC, Lester was some 800 miles east of Hilo and 1030 miles east of Honolulu, boasting maximum sustained winds of 110 MPH. The storm is moving at 14 MPH. Some weakening was forecast through late Friday. No watches or warnings are in effect.
ARES teams remain ready to initiate local repeater nets, holding 146.52 MHz simplex in reserve in case repeaters go down. Plans call for using HF (7.180 and 3.975 MHz) to relay traffic via Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) nets to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency Emergency Operations Center (EOC). SKYWARN traffic will use Fldigi MT63 1KL or voice on 7.080 MHz (USB), with 3.888 MHz (LSB) as an alternate frequency, and 7.095 MHz available to support informal and tactical traffic.
Public schools in Hawaii remained closed on September 1, and Hawaii Gov David Inge has urged residents of the Big Island to take steps to protect people and property. Some government offices and businesses also have closed. A dozen schools have been designated to serve as emergency evacuation shelters.