The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has announced “tentative plans” to activate for Hurricane Matthew on Saturday, October 1, 2016, at 2100 UTC on its primary frequency of 14.325 MHz. Once it activates, the net will remain in continuous operation until further notice.
“We plan to operate 14.325 MHz by day and 7.268 MHz by night,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. “If propagation dictates, we will operate both frequencies at the same time. Should there be any change to this plan, we will announce these on our website, on numerous HF nets, as well as in the Amateur Radio media.”
As of 1800 UTC on September 30, Matthew was reported to be a very strong Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 MPH, located some 475 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. Over the past 24 hours, Matthew’s forecast track has moved a bit to the west. With any continued westward movement, the eye of Matthew will make landfall on the Caribbean island of Jamaica. The storm is moving west-southwest at 12 MPH.
“Even if Matthew does not make landfall on Jamaica, residents will feel very strong effects from this storm,” Graves said. “Of course, Cuba is still in the path of this dangerous storm. Even those in western Haiti will be affected.”
Residents of Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas are being warned to make all necessary preparations to protect life and property.
The HWN will be seeking “observed, ground-truth data from those in the affected area,” Graves said. These include such data as wind speed, wind gusts, wind direction, barometric pressure, rain, damage, and storm surge.
The HWN will be available to provide back-up communication for official agencies such as emergency operations centers and the Red Cross, Graves said. The net also is interested in collecting and reporting to FEMA any significant damage in storm-affected areas.