The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), which has been tracking the approach of Hurricane Florence, plans to remain active “until no longer needed.” The net activated on Thursday, September 13, at 1300 UTC on both its 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz frequencies.
The storm made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, early today (September 14) and has been scaled back to a Category 1 storm. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says, however, that the danger of storm surge flooding and heavy rainfall is greater than that from high winds, as Florence appears poised to hang around along the coast for a while. European Space Agency Astronaut Alexander Gerst, KF5ONO, remarked on the size of the storm earlier this week as the International Space Station crew took photos from some 250 miles up.
“Watch out, America. Hurricane Florence is so enormous, we could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens from the Space Station, 400 kilometers directly above the eye, Gerst tweeted, as he advised residents on the East Coast to prepare. “This is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you!”
As of 1200 UTC, the NHC said “life-threatening storm surges and hurricane-force winds continue,” and “catastrophic freshwater flooding [is] expected over portions of North and South Carolina. Hurricane Florence was 10 miles south of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 65 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, packing maximum sustained winds of 90 MPH and moving to the west at 6 MPH.
WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center will remain active through Friday, operating cooperatively with the HWN as net stations funnel ground-level reports to the Center. WX4NHC will monitor the HWN and the VoIP Hurricane Net (VoIPWX) on EchoLink Conference WX-Talk, node 7203 or IRLP 9219.
As the storm was still out to sea, ARRL has shipped Ham Aid kits to the affected region, the same ones that ARRL volunteers took to Puerto Rico a year ago to assist with disaster communications following Hurricane Maria. ARES and SKYWARN teams in the Carolinas have been active or on alert.
The Salvation Army Team Emergency Network (SATERN) will reactivate on Friday and Saturday at about 1600 UTC until propagation no longer supports it or the Net Manager closes the net for the day. SATERN may extend its activation depending on reports of major damage, especially to the communications infrastructure; continued significant emergency, priority, or health-and-welfare traffic, as well as reports of an increased need for auxiliary communication. The net’s primary mission will be the receipt and delivery of outbound health-and-welfare messages from affected areas.
AMSAT-NA plans to use AO-92 (Fox-1D) in an attempt to image Hurricane Florence. AMSAT Vice-President of Operations, Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, said this week that plans call for using the camera on AO-92 to try imaging Hurricane Florence during North American east coast passes. The high-speed image data will be transmitted on 145.880 MHz and can be captured, decoded, and uploaded to the Fox-1 data warehouse using FoxTelem version 1.06 software, AMSAT said.
As a result of Hurricane Florence, power is out to more than 500,000 customers in North and South Carolina, emergency officials said. Some 26,000 evacuees are now taking refuge in more than 200 emergency shelters in the Carolinas.
The HWN also has been monitoring Atlantic storms Helene, Isaac, and Joyce.
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