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Amateur Radio Resources Muster as Dorian Nears Hurricane Strength

08/28/2019

Amateur Radio resources are in position as Tropical Storm Dorian — forecast to be near hurricane strength later today — approaches Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. As of 1200 UTC, Dorian was some 60 miles southeast of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands with maximum sustained winds of 60 MPH and moving to the northwest at 13 MPH. The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has activated on 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz and will remain in operation until further notice, working in conjunction with WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center in Miami to provide “ground truth” weather data to forecasters from net participants. WX4NHC announced plans to activate at 1500 UTC today.

As of 1200 UTC, a Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning were in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, and the US Virgin Islands, while a Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the British Virgin Islands. Dorian is forecast to move to the east of the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday, and near or to the east of the central and northwestern Bahamas on Friday and Saturday.

The ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team has been meeting and is monitoring the situation closely. ARRL officials are in regular communication with partner agencies, particularly FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, ARRL HQ remains in close contact with Field Organization officials in Puerto Rico and Florida. Some Ham Aid equipment from ARRL was previously positioned in the region.

W1AW, which had already planned to be in operation for the Hiram Percy Maxim 150th birthday special event this weekend, will remain ready to assist with emergency communications.

Over the weekend, Puerto Rico’s Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) was urging the island’s residents to gather necessary supplies such as water and food. Residents heeded the advice, heading out to markets to buy water and other supplies in larger-than-usual quantities. By Sunday, vendors were limiting bottled water to between two and five packages, depending on locale. The government of Puerto Rico has assured the public that it’s better prepared than it was for Hurricanes Irma and Maria 2 years ago.

Puerto Rico Section Manager Oscar Resto, KP4RF, has alerted ARRL members there that the Red Cross will be active during the emergency.



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