The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) will go on “Standby Alert” in the event that a strong tropical system bearing the designation “Invest 99L” becomes a named storm over the next couple of days. The system, which already has been generating gale force winds near the Virgin Islands, is moving west-northwest at 15 to 20 MPH. HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said weather models concur that South Florida could be affected.
“Some models have this system moving a little further south, bringing it over or close to the southern tip of Florida and then into the Gulf of Mexico,” said HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV. “After that, where the storm will go, and how strong it will be, is yet to be determined.”
NOAA described Invest 99L as “an area of low pressure associated with a tropical wave,” which is producing gale force winds over water to the north of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti).
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Invest 99L, also known within FEMA as “Disturbance 1,” was located southwest of the Turks and Caicos, as of 1200 UTC. FEMA predicted gusty winds and heavy rain likely over the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. It calculated a “medium” (50 percent) chance that the storm would develop into a tropical storm within the next 48 hours, and a “high” (80 percent) chance over the next 5 days.
Graves said that should Invest 99L become a tropical storm, it will be named Hermine. “Should Hermine become a hurricane and moves to within 300 miles of landfall, the Hurricane Watch Net will activate and remain in continuous operation for as long as required,” he said.
The HWN operates on 14.325 MHz during daylight hours and on 7.268 MHz after dark. As propagation dictates, the net may use both frequencies simultaneously, and Graves indicated that would “most likely be the case” under current conditions.
The HWN will post to its website and announce on the air any updates to operational plans or other changes, as well as notify the Amateur Radio news media.
“Should we need to activate, we will be requesting observed ground-truth data from those in the affected area (wind speed, wind gust, wind direction, barometric pressure – if available, rain, damage, and storm surge),” Graves said. “If you havemeasured weather data, that would be of great help. We are interested only in your personal observations, preferably measured by calibrated instruments,” he added.74
Graves said the HWN is available to provide back-up communication to official entities, such as emergency operations centers and the Red Cross in affected areas. “We will also be interested to collect and report significant damage assessment data to FEMA officials stationed at the National Hurricane Center,” Graves said.
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