The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) is currently monitoring the progress of Hurricane Matthew. On the current forecast track, Matthew will make landfall near Guantanamo, Cuba sometime on the evening of October 3.
“Should the track move to the west, the storm will make landfall on the island of Jamaica with a second landfall on Cuba,” said HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV. “Any shift to the east and landfall would be eastern Haiti. Once the storm passes Cuba, or Haiti, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands will be affected.”
Graves pointed out that last year the Bahamas were ravaged by Hurricane Joaquin.
He said that when the time comes to activate the net, it will remain active around the clock, using 14.325 MHz by day and 7.268 MHz by night. “We are no longer a 20 meter-only net,” he said. “If propagation dictates, we will operate both frequencies at the same time.”
Graves said the HWN has a number of fully bilingual operators to assist those in need.
“At the moment, we are in monitoring mode,” Graves said. “We normally activate our net when a storm is within 300 miles (482 kilometers) of landfall. Due to the close proximity of Matthew to Jamaica and Haiti, net activation may come as early Saturday morning.”
“As with any net activation, we will be requesting observed ground-truth data from those in the affected area (wind speed, wind gust, wind direction, barometric pressure — and, if available, rain, damage, and storm surge),” Grave said. “Measured weather data are always appreciated, but we do accept estimates.”
“We are also available to provide backup communications to official agencies such as Emergency Operations Centers and Red Cross officials in the affected area,” he added. “We will also be interested to collect and report significant damage information for FEMA.”