Tropical Storm Dolly Expected to Reach Hurricane Status Today; WX4NHC Activated
According to reports from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Tropical Storm Dolly is expected to become a hurricane within the next 12-24 hours and track toward the Texas/Mexico border. With this in mind WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, activated its HF and EchoLink/IRLP station on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 2 PM EDT (1800 UTC).
Hurricane warnings have been issued from Rio San Fernando in Mexico northward to Port O'Connor, Texas. Tropical storm warnings surround the hurricane warning area, with tropical storm warnings in effect in Mexico between Le Pesca and Rio San Fernando (where a hurricane watch is also in effect), and between Port O'Connor and San Luis Pass in Texas.
John Mc Hugh, K4AG, Coordinator for Amateur Radio at NHC, requested that "All land based stations, as well as ships at sea, in the areas affected send [the NHC] weather data (measured or estimated) and damage reports. 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 Hurricane Watch Net or VoIP WX Net once per hour to receive the latest hurricane advisories and to report your local conditions."
WX4NHC will be 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 will also be monitored. WX4NHC will also monitor CWOP, APRS and MADIS/MESONET automated weather stations in the affected area. The NHC will also be monitoring surface reports that are submitted via the NHC's Online Hurricane Report Form.
McHugh said that the WX4NHC Group continues to "expand its efforts to increase the quantity and quality of surface reports to include many different modes of reception and groups of people, including HF, VHF/UHF IRLP and EchoLink, VHF and HF APRS, CWOP NOAA Program and the NHC Weather Observers Network.
Keep in mind that there are many constantly changing atmospheric variables that can affect the storm's track and strength. For official information, please refer to advisories issued by the National Hurricane Center.