The Hurricane Watch Net remains at Alert Level 5 – Catastrophic Response Mode. We will remain in continuous operation until further notice.
The Hurricane Watch Net ceased nighttime operations on 7.268 MHz at 6:00 AM EDT 1000 UTC. Propagation went away shortly after midnight EDT and never returned. Members of HWN monitored the frequency listening for anyone needing help as well as reading the latest position reports of Hurricanes Irma, José, and Katia. Daytime operations will resume on 14.325.00 MHz at 7:00 AM EDT – 1100 UTC.
As a reminder, our Net will remain in continuous operation until further notice. Daytime operations on 14.325 MHz will begin at 7:00 AM EDT – 1100 UTC each day continuing for as long as propagation allows. Nighttime operations will be on 7.268 MHz starting at 6:00 PM EDT – 2200 UTC and continue overnight. If propagation dictates, we will operate both frequencies at the same time.
Note: Operations on 7.268 MHz will pause at 7:30 AM ET, and, if required, resume at approximately 8:30 AM ET. This will allow the Waterway Net to conducts their daily net.
Any change in Net Operation plans will be noted here, on our website, the networks of 14.300.00 MHz, and many additional amateur radio networks and media.
Overnight, we tracked 3 hurricanes: Irma, José, and Katia.
All data from this point forward comes from the 500 AM EDT – 0900 UTC Advisories.
Katia made north of Tecolutla Mexico as a Category 1 Hurricane with maximum sustained wind of 75 mph. As of the 400 AM EDT – 0900 UTC Advisory, Katia was beginning to stall near the Sierra Madre Mountains. Katia is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches.
José is a Category 4 Hurricane with maximum sustained wind of 150 mph (240 km/h) moving to the west-northwest at 13 mph (20 km/h). On the forecast track, the core of José will pass close to or just east of the northern Leeward Islands today.
Irma is a powerful and deadly Hurricane. The eye continues to moving over the Camaguey Archipelago of Cuba as a Category 4 Hurricane. Irma has maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (250 km/h), moving to the west-northwest at 12 mph (19km/h). The storm was located about 45 miles (70 km) east of Caibarien Cuba and about 245 miles (395 km) south-southeast of Miami, Florida.
Key Messages from the 500 AM EDT – 0900 UTC Discussion:
1. Irma will continue to bring life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazards to portions of the Bahamas and the north coast of Cuba, especially over the adjacent Cuban Keys, through tonight.
2. Irma is expected to make landfall in Florida as an extremely dangerous major hurricane, and will bring life-threatening wind impacts to much of the state regardless of the exact track of the center.
3. There is the danger of life-threatening storm surge inundation in portions of central and southern Florida, including the Florida Keys, during the next 36 hours, where a Storm Surge Warning is in effect. The threat of significant storm surge flooding along the southwest coast of Florida has increased, and 8 to 12 feet of inundation above ground level is possible in this area. This is a life-threatening situation. Everyone in these areas should take all actions to protect life and property from rising water and follow evacuation instructions from local officials.
4. Irma is expected to produce very heavy rain and inland flooding. Total rain accumulations of 8 to 15 inches, with isolated amounts of 20 inches are expected over the Florida Keys and much of the Florida peninsula through Tuesday night. Irma will likely bring periods of heavy rain to much of the Florida Panhandle, Georgia, South Carolina, and western North Carolina early next week, including some mountainous areas which are more prone to flash flooding. All areas seeing heavy rainfall from Irma will experience a risk of flooding and flash flooding.
As with any net activation, HWN requests observed ground-truth data from those in the affected area (Wind Speed, Wind Gust, Wind Direction, Barometric Pressure – if available, Rainfall, Damage, and Storm Surge). Measured weather data is always appreciated but estimated data is accepted. We will also be interested to collect and report significant damage assessment data back to FEMA officials stationed in the National Hurricane Center.
In addition to collecting weather data for the forecasters at the National Hurricane Centers and reading the latest advisories, bulletins, and updates, we can also handle any emergency or priority traffic. Additionally, we are available to provide backup communications to official agencies such as Emergency Operations Centers and Red Cross officials in the affected area.
On a personal note, I consider landfalling hurricanes to that of a fire. We never know when a fire (landfalling hurricane), or multiple fires will occur. Our members are ready and willing to go to work and do what is necessary to gather reports, disseminate the latest advisories, and handle emergency or priority traffic. I realize our net operations have disrupted normal amateur radio activity on the frequencies of 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz, but the fire alarm sounded.
I wish to sincerely thank the daily users of these frequencies to allow us to serve our fellow man in a serious time of need. We do pray these storms are over soon as we, members of the Hurricane Watch Net, many who have regular working jobs, have taken time off to assist in Hurricane Weather Emergency. Please bear with us as we continue to help those affected and yet to be affected. We will return these frequencies to normal amateur radio use as soon as this Weather Emergency has passed.
Please, keep those who are in the path of these dangerous hurricanes in your thoughts and prayers!
As always, we are praying and hoping for the best yet preparing for the worst.
Hurricane Watch Net
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