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Major Hurricane Dorian Prompts Sustained Activations


Hurricane Dorian, now a dangerous Category 5 storm, hit the island of Abaco in the Bahamas with 185 MPH winds and heavy rain. The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) on 14.325 MHz (7268 MHz alternate) and the VoIP Hurricane Net (EchoLink WX_TALK Conference) remain activated in conjunction with WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center to keep on top of ground-truth weather information and to handle emergency traffic, if needed.

FEMA has announced that channels 1 and 2 of the 60 meter band will be made available, as necessary, beginning September 2 for interoperability between federal government stations and US Amateur Radio stations involved in Hurricane Dorian emergency communications. They will remain active until the storm has passed and the need for the channels no longer exists.

Channel 1 (5332 kHz channel center) will be available for primary voice traffic 5332 kHz channel center, 5330.5 kHz USB. Channel 2 (5348 kHz channel center) will handle digital traffic, 5346.5 kHz USB with 1.5 kHz offset to center of digital waveform

Radio amateurs must yield to operational traffic related to Hurricane Dorian. Although the intended use for these channels is interoperability between federal government stations and US Amateur Radio stations, federal government stations are primary users and amateurs are secondary.

According to the National Hurricane Center, as of 2100 UTC on September 1, Dorian was some 95 miles east of Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, and about 175 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida, packing maximum sustained winds of 185 MPH. The storm has continued its slow movement to the west at 5 MPH.

A slower west to west-northwest motion should continue for the next day or two, followed by a gradual turn toward the northwest. On this track, the core of the “extremely dangerous” hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Great Abaco this evening and move near or over Grand Bahama Island tonight and Monday. The hurricane will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast late Monday through Tuesday night.

While some fluctuations in intensity are likely, Dorian is expected to remain a catastrophic hurricane during the next few days, the National Hurricane Center says. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles.

“The Hurricane Watch Net has been in continuous operation since 2100 UTC Saturday and will remain in operation until further notice,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. “Dorian is now the strongest hurricane in modern records for the northwestern Bahamas.”

Graves said that just before 1600 UTC, the HWN had been hearing from stations in Hope Town, Abacos, and New Providence, Nassau at a. “Unfortunately, we’ve not heard from them since. We were hoping to hear from those in Hope Town while in the eye of Dorian but that never happened.”

“Although Dorian remains forecast to make a turn to the north and track parallel to the coast of Florida and Georgia, that turn isn’t expected until sometime late Monday,” Graves continued. “The current forecast has tropical-storm-force winds along the coast, if the track parallels the coast with hurricane-force winds just offshore. For now, the HWN will continue operations as though Dorian will make Florida landfall. If Dorian were to hit Florida as a Category 5 and at the strength it is now, sustained winds of 185 MPH, it would the strongest hurricane to hit Florida since Andrew in 1992.”

Graves reminded those in the storm-affected areas to resist the temptation to venture outside if in the eye of the storm. “There may be downed power lines and they should be considered live. Furthermore, you do not know when the backside of the eye will come. The winds will not slowly increase in speed but rather go from zero to full speed nearly instantly.”



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