Tropical Storm Gustav Soaking Haiti; Expected to Strengthen
Editor’s Note: The following report, from John McHugh, K4AG, Coordinator for Amateur Radio, National Hurricane Center, WX4NHC, was updated August 27 to reflect the latest information about Tropical Storm Gustav.
With maximum sustained winds of 90 mph/150 km per hour, Hurricane Gustav made landfall on the southwest peninsula of Haiti on the afternoon of August 26. Over the next few days, its path is projected to take it along Cuba's southern coast and then northwestward into the Gulf of Mexico. For storm information specific to your area, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local weather office.
As of August 27, Gustav has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm, with maximum sustained winds around 60 mph, although restrengthening is forecast as the center approaches eastern Cuba. A hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning are in effect for Jamaica. A hurricane warning remains in effect for several provinces of Cuba, including Guantanamo. A hurricane watch remains in effect for the Cuban provinces of Las Tunas and Holguin and all of the Cayman Islands.
Gustav is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 12 inches over Hispaniola, eastern Cuba and Jamaica, with isolated maximum amounts of up to 25 inches possible. These rains will likely produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
Coastal storm surge flooding of 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels, along with large and dangerous battering waves can be expected in areas of onshore winds in the hurricane warning area.
WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, activated its HF and EchoLink/IRLP station at 10 AM/1400Z August 26. We request all land based stations as well as ships at sea in the areas affected send us 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 HWN Net or EchoLink/IRLP Net once per hour to receive the latest Hurricane Advisories and to report your local conditions.
VoIP Net Supports Gustav Operations
The VoIP Hurricane Net activated as Gustav strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane, but it secured when Gustav weakened over Haiti and was downgraded to Tropical Storm status. Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net, posted the following on the morning of August 27:
The current forecast track brings Gustav between Cuba and Jamaica with the hurricane force winds remaining largely offshore between these two areas. The VoIP Hurricane Net will closely monitor the track of Gustav but the current forecast track does not have direct impact from Gustav as a hurricane over land until it reaches Western Cuba late Friday into Saturday which could prompt an activation at that time. We will work with IRESC as we did on Tuesday over the next few days on reports from Gustav as required and if the track of Gustav changes and allows hurricane force winds to have a greater impact over land the activation status of the net will change accordingly.
Please do not venture outside during the hurricane to gather weather data. Your safety is the first priority. There are many constantly changing atmospheric variables that affect the storm's track and strength. Please refer to the National Hurricane Center Advisories for official information.
WX4NHC will be monitoring the Hurricane Watch Net on 14.325 MHz. Secondary HF frequencies will be 7.268 MHz and 3.950 MHz +/- interference, should we lose propagation 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. Surface Reports using our online Hurricane Report form will be monitored. Amateur Weather Enthusiasts and ON-NHC Volunteers may report directly to WX4NHC online.
ON-NHC volunteers are both ham radio operators and non-ham weather observers who use their own weather instruments to submit "Surface Reports" directly to NHC over the Internet via the WX4NHC online report form. These "Surface Reports" are very important as they give Hurricane Specialists at NHC a better idea of what is actually happening on the ground level during the storm.
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 ON-NHC Weather Observers Network. See our Web site for more information on these programs.