Hurricane Watch Net Stands Down after Nearly 40 Hours of Operation
The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has announced that it’s shutting down its activation for Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a Tropical Storm but still “a formidable system that will affect the coastal states for days,” HWN Assistant Manager Stan Broadway, N8BHL, said. “Because the storm is moving inland, Amateur Radio activity will shift to the various state and regional emergency nets,” Broadway added.
The HWN operated on two frequencies simultaneously — its “home” 20-meter frequency of 14.325 MHz and its 40-meter frequency of 7.268 MHz.
“While propagation was not good on 20 meters for the period, 40 meters afforded a fairly consistent contact with stations in the area,” Broadway recounted. “The net has been in operation for 38 hours.”
Over the course of its activation, listening for reports and relaying them to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) via WX4NHC, nearly 200 stations checked in, and the net took in approximately twice that number of reports.
“Many were not at severe levels, but all ‘ground truth’ [reports] assists in plotting the activity of the storm,” Broadway explained. WX4NHC will remain active through Friday.
As of 0000 UTC on September15, the center of Florence had moved into extreme eastern South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center reports. “Life-threatening storm surges and strong winds to continue tonight,” the report said, “[with] catastrophic freshwater flooding expected over portions of North and South Carolina.”
The storm was some 15 miles north-northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and about 55 miles east-southeast of Florence, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 70 MPH. Florence is moving to the west at a leisurely 3 MPH.
The HWN continues to keep an eye on three other active storms in the Atlantic — Helene, Isaac, and Joyce, all tropical storms at this point.
The ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team activated on September 12 and continues to monitor forecasts. ARRL has deployed Ham Aid kits to South Carolina and Virginia. W1AW suspended scheduled bulletin and code practice transmissions for Friday, September 14. Regular transmissions will resume on Monday, September 17. W1AW will be monitoring and assisting with any hurricane-related traffic.
The Salvation Army Team Emergency Network (SATERN) will reactivate on 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.