With active storms in the Atlantic and Pacific basins, ARRL Headquarters, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), and the Salvation Army Team Emergency Network (SATERN) are all on alert. The most imminent storm is Hurricane Florence, now a major Category 3 storm, which is set to strike the Carolinas later this week. Hurricane
Watch Net Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said over the weekend that the net is keeping a close eye on Hurricanes Florence and Isaac, a Category 1 storm that could affect the Lesser Antilles before heading into the eastern Caribbean.
“Florence is expected to affect the US East Coast midweek, [with] Isaac affecting the Windward Islands about the same time,” Graves said. “The impact of Florence could be catastrophic, as it is forecast to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane.” Graves notes that Charleston, South Carolina, was last hit by Category 4 storm when Hugo made landfall in 1989.
As of 1500 UTC, Florence was some 580 miles south-southeast of Bermuda and 1,240 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 115 MPH. The storm is moving west at 13 MPH.
The HWN has not announced any activation plans. The net traditionally uses 14.325 MHz during daylight hours and 7.268 MHz after dark. “With propagation being extremely poor to nonexistent on 20 meters, we may be forced to operate on both bands simultaneously,” Graves said. WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is currently in a planning stage and anticipating activating Wednesday, September 12, through Friday, September 14. When WX4NHC activates, it will operate cooperatively with HWN as net stations funnel ground-level reports to the Center.
The International SATERN SSB Net has announced plan to activate in response to Hurricane Florence on Thursday, September 13, remaining in operation at least through Saturday, September 15. SATERN operates on 14.265 MHz with 14.312 MHz as an alternative frequency.
“The Salvation Army is already beginning to plan for major deployments of personnel and equipment,” SATERN announced over the weekend.
The Voice over Internet Protocol Weather/Hurricane Net (VoIPWX) is expected to activate late Wednesday or early Thursday.
Storms in the Pacific include Tropical Storm Paul, which is not expected to affect land, and Hurricane Olivia, a Category 1 storm that could threaten Hawaii. The NHC has advised Hawaii residents to monitor the storm’s progress.