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Storm Watch Continues Along Southeastern US Coast


[UPDATED: 2019-09-05- @ 1942 UTC] Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) teams from Florida to Virginia went on alert this week, even before Hurricane Dorian left the Bahamas and started making its way up the southeastern US coast. As of 1800 UTC on September 5, Dorian was back to a Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 110 MPH. It was 115 miles south-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving north-northeast at 8 MPH.

The Florida ARES Net and the statewide SARnet repeater system were to remain activated until Florida emergency managers considered the storm no longer a serious threat. The three ARRL Florida Sections conferred daily this week to assess the situation and coordinate support.

In Georgia, an ARES Emergency Net activated on HF, with a variety of coastal, hospital, emergency operations center (EOC) on frequency, and other stations with Georgia’s Emergency Management Agency (GEMA). ARES Mutual Assistance Teams are standing by.

ARES operators were deployed to two GEMA sites to listen for assistance calls on HF and monitor several frequencies as well as the D-STAR and *Georgia* EchoLink conference node 4544. They were also accepting assistance requests via Winlink.

In South Carolina, ARES has been at the ready. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) radio room was operating 24/7, and Section leadership has been having regular conference calls.

In North Carolina, emergency managers are anticipating the worst effects of the storm on Thursday and Friday. Evacuation routes have been established, and North Carolina National Guard personnel activated, along with high-water vehicles and aircraft. 

At 1500 UTC, the National Hurricane Center reported:

At 1800 UTC, Dorian was moving toward the north-northeast near 8 mph (13 km/h). A turn toward the northeast is anticipated by tonight, and a northeastward motion at a faster forward speed is forecast on Friday. On the forecast track, the center of Dorian will continue to move close to the coast of South Carolina this afternoon, and then move near or over the coast of North Carolina tonight and Friday. The center should move to the southeast of extreme southeastern New England Friday night and Saturday morning, and approach Nova Scotia later on Saturday.

Rain and storm surge have been the primary threats, with extensive flooding reported in coastal counties of Georgia and the Carolinas, coupled with high winds that downed trees and caused power outages.

FEMA announced earlier that channels 1 and 2 of the 60-meter band are available, as necessary, for interoperability between federal government stations and US Amateur Radio stations involved in Hurricane Dorian emergency communications. Channel 1 (5332 kHz channel center) is reserved for primary voice traffic on the 5332 kHz channel center, 5330.5 kHz USB, and channel 2 (5348 kHz channel center) for digital traffic, 5346.5 kHz USB with 1.5 kHz offset to center of digital waveform.

The ARRL Emergency Response Team remains activated in monitoring mode, as is W1AW.

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has been activated since last Saturday on 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz. 

WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced formal activation plans for Thursday and Friday. The VoIP Hurricane Net activated Thursday in support. The net asked radio amateurs in affected areas, or who can relay traffic from affected areas, to provide surface weather data and damage reports for relay to WX4NHC.

Visit the National Hurricane Center website for the latest official storm information.



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