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Hurricane Watch Net Stands Down, Likely Activating Again on July 3


The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) activated this morning at 1300 UTC for Hurricane Elsa, which became a Category 1 storm earlier today. As of 1800 UTC, Hurricane Elsa was about 95 miles west-northwest of St. Vincent, and 580 miles east-southeast of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The storm is packing maximum sustained winds of 85 MPH and is moving to the west-northwest at a brisk 29 MPH.

“Because the storm was extremely close to Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent, we went into operation to collect and forward weather data to the National Hurricane Center in Miami,” Net Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. “Given the extremely short notice, I seriously doubt people on the islands knew to expect HWN on the air. But, just to be safe, HWN was there to handle weather data and other traffic as needed.” The net was suspended at 1615 UTC.

Graves said the HWN is now focusing on its next activation. “At this time, it appears we will be activating Saturday morning, July 3, at 1400 UTC on 14.325 MHz and remain active on this frequency for as long as we have propagation,” Graves said. “We plan to start our 40-meter net on 7.268 beginning at 2300 UTC. We will remain active on 40 meters for as long as propagation holds.”

Graves said that if the net is needed and Elsa remains a hurricane, the HWN plans to activate on Sunday, July 4, 1200 UTC, on 14.325 MHz, and remain active on this frequency for as long as propagation holds. “We start our 40-meter net on 7.268 at 2300 UTC,” Graves said.

“These activation plans are subject to change,” Graves stressed. “Any change in these plans will be posted on our website.”

This year during HWN activations, members of the Salvation Army’s SATERN Net will be monitoring on frequency to assist with any request for outgoing health-and-welfare traffic from the affected area.

HWN welcomes and encourages radio amateurs to report observed ground-truth data from the affected area. Information needed includes wind speed, wind gust, wind direction, barometric pressure (if available), rainfall, damage, and storm surge. Measured weather data is always appreciated, but estimates are welcome.

“We are always ready and available to provide backup communications to official agencies, such as emergency operations centers, the Red Cross, and storm shelters in the affected area. We also collect and forward significant damage assessment data to FEMA officials stationed in the National Hurricane Center,” Graves said.




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