Hurricane Earl Continues to Strengthen, Watch Nets Activated
With Hurricane Earl now a category 2 storm -- and expected to become a major hurricane -- WX4NHC and the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) -- activated at 8 AM EDT on Monday, August 30; WX4NHC is the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida. As of 8 AM (EDT) on Monday, August 30, Earl’s center is approximately 25 miles east north-northeast of St Martin in the northern Leeward Islands and is expected to steadily strengthen over the next few days. Earl was moving to the west-northwest near 14 miles per hour, with hurricane force winds of up to 50 miles extending outward from Earl’s center, with tropical storm force winds extending outward up to 175 miles.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 110 MPH, but higher gusts have been reported. Earl is a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. NHC forecasters are calling for Earl to strengthen throughout the day on Monday, becoming a major hurricane later in the day. A hurricane warning is now in effect for the US Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, St Martin, St Barthelemy, St Maarten, Saba, St Eustatius and the British Virgin Islands. A hurricane watch and tropical storm warning are in effect for Puerto Rico, including the islands of Culebra and Vieques.
NHC officials are forecasting that Earl will likely head northward, threatening the US Virgin Islands on Monday and moving toward the US Eastern Seaboard sometime after Wednesday, September 1. Dangerous rip currents and swells generated by Earl should begin to impact the Southeast Atlantic Coast -- including Florida’s East Coast -- on Tuesday
WX4NHC is monitoring the Hurricane Watch Net on 14.325 MHz. Secondary HF frequencies will be 7.268 MHz and 3.950 MHz +/- QRM, should propagation be lost on 20 meters. EchoLink “WX-Talk” Conference Room and IRLP node 9219 is also being monitored. WX4NHC is also monitoring CWOP, APRS and MADIS/MESONET automated weather stations in the affected area, as well as EchoLink “WX-Talk” Conference Room and IRLP node 9219. Surface reports using WX4NHC’s Online Hurricane Report form are also being monitored.
The VoIP Hurricane Net will be active for Earl for as long as required to support WX4NHC with surface reports from stations within the affected area, or from amateurs who have contacts within the affected area who can relay information from those contacts. Stations can connect via EchoLink by connecting to the *WX_TALK* EchoLink conference node 7203, as well as via IRLP through IRLP reflector 9219. Several listen-only components for stations have been set up for those who don’t have contact with the affected area, enabling them to monitor the hurricane net. The listen-only information is posted in the VoIP hurricane net activation announcement on the VoIP Hurricane Net Web site.
“We request all land based stations, as well as ships at sea in the areas affected, to send us weather data (measured or estimated) and damage reports,” said WX4NHC Assistant Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R. “If you are in the affected area and normally monitor on a local Net on VHF, 40 or 80 meters, we would appreciate your checking into the HWN NET or EchoLink/IRLP Net once per hour to receive the latest hurricane advisories and to report your local conditions.”
Wind: Hurricane conditions are now spreading across the northern Leeward Islands and will spread westward into the Virgin Islands later on Monday. Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread over Puerto Rico on Monday, with hurricane conditions possible this evening and tonight.
Storm Surge: Storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 2-4 feet above ground level, primarily near the coast within the hurricane warning area, and 1-3 feet in the tropical storm warning area. The surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous battering waves.
Rainfall: Earl is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4-8 inches over the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches, especially over higher elevations. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.