Responding to Tropical Storm Barry, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) and WX4NHC— the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami — have announced plans to activate.
The HWN will activate today (July 12) at 2300 UTC on both 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz.
“We will operate on 14.325 for as long as propagation allows and will suspend operations on 7.268 MHz at 0300 UTC,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. “Net operations will resume Saturday morning at 1230 UTC (on both 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz) or as soon as the Waterway Net concludes operation.” Graves said that once the net activates on Saturday, it will remain in operation until further notice.
Graves said the HWN also will be available to provide back-up communication to official agencies in the affected area and will be collecting and reporting “significant damage assessment data” to FEMA officials at the National Hurricane Center.
WX4NHC will activate July 12 at 8 PM EDT (July 13 at 0000 UTC) and operate through landfall on Saturday.
“We encourage all ham operators in the affected area to take all safety precautions needed and comply with evacuation orders from authorities,” WX4NHC Assistant Manager Julio Ripoll, WD4R, said. The Hurricane Watch Net and WX4NHC typically coordinate their activities, with the HWN reporting weather data observed by participants to the NHC via WX4NHC.
Hurricane hunters report that Tropical Storm Barry is gaining strength. Forecasters predict additional strengthening before landfall; Barry is expected to be a hurricane when the center reaches the Louisiana coast. The NHC says dangerous storm surge, heavy rainfall, and high wind conditions are expected across the north-central Gulf Coast.
The heavy rainfall could generate additional flooding in the region. According to NHC forecasters, Barry is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 20 inches over south-central and southeast Louisiana as well as over southwest Mississippi, with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches. “These rains are expected to lead to dangerous, life-threatening flooding over portions of the central Gulf Coast into the Lower Mississippi Valley,” the NHC forecast said
As of 1500 UTC, Barry was about 100 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and some 115 miles south-southeast of Morgan City, Louisiana. The storm now boasts maximum sustained winds of 65 MPH and continues to move west-northwest at 5 MPH.
“A motion toward the northwest is expected to begin later today, followed by a turn toward the north Saturday night,” the NHC forecast said. “On the forecast track, the center of Barry will approach the central or southeastern coast of Louisiana through tonight and then make landfall over the central Louisiana coast on Saturday.”
Northern Florida ARES Section Emergency Coordinator Karl Martin, KG4HBN, has told ARRL that his team is monitoring Barry but does not expect the storm to affect Northern Florida. Martin said no plans are in place to formally activate the North Florida ARES Net.