• Storm Watch Continues Along Southeastern US Coast

    From ARRL de WD1CKS@WLARB to QST on Wednesday, September 04, 2019 17:05:51

    As of 1500 UTC, the National Hurricane Center (NHC[1]) was reporting that a hurricane warning has been extended northeastward along the North Carolina coast. The storm was located 90 miles east-northeast of Daytona, Florida, and 205 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina. A Category2 storm, Dorian is packing sustained winds of 105 MPH.

    The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES¿) activation status is at Level 3 (stand-by mode) in the West Central Florida Section, while it's at Level 2 (partial activation) but expected to move to Level 1 (activated) in the Northern Florida Section, as Hurricane Dorian continues to move north-northwest at 9 MPH, parallel to the northeastern Florida coast

    The Florida ARES Net is operating on 3.950 MHz (or 7.242 MHz, if propagation is poor) from 0700 through 1900 ET and not overnight, until asked to stand down by the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC). An ARES Emergency Net is being conducted on the statewide SARnet system.

    The three ARRL Florida Sections were scheduled to hold a conference call at noon to assess the current situation and to coordinate support for any remaining operations.

    At 1500 UTC, the National Hurricane Center[2] reported:

    "Dorian is moving toward the north-northwest near 9 mph (15 km/h) and this motion is expected to continue today. A turn toward the north is expected tonight, followed by a turn toward the northeast on Thursday. On this track, the core of Hurricane Dorian will move parallel to the Florida east coast and the Georgia coast through tonight. The center of Dorian is forecast to move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday through Friday.

    "Maximum sustained winds are near 105 MPH (165 km/h) with higher gusts. A slow weakening is expected during the next few days. However, Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during this time.

    "Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). NOAA buoy 41008, located off the Georgia coast, recently reported sustained winds of 40 mph (65 km/h) and a wind gust of 47 mph (76 km/h)."

    In Georgia, an ARES Emergency Net is active on 3.975 MHz, as the Georgia coast remains under a tropical storm warning and a storm surge warning.

    "We have a variety of coastal, hospital, EOC stations and other stations on frequency together with Georgia's Emergency Management Agency (GEMA)," Georgia Assistant Section Manager Jim Altman, W4UCK, told ARRL. "The ARES Mutual Assistance Teams stand ready. We will remain in operation at least during the daylight hours and at night as needed for the duration of the storm."

    ARES operators have been deployed to two Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) sites. GEMA will listen for assistance calls on HF, but the primary method will be to submit an ICS 231 form via Winlink. GEMA will monitor 3.975, 5.335, 7.287, and 3.583 MHz (MT-63 1K), as well as D-Star, and the *Georgia* EchoLink conference node 4544.

    Coastal counties in Georgia are under evacuation orders, and highways have been reconfigured for one-way traffic to move inland away from the coast.

    In South Carolina, ARES was standing by and assessing the needs of its coastal counties, as of Tuesday. South Carolina Section Emergency Coordinator Billy Irwin, K9OH, said the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD[3]) radio room has been operating 24/7. "We have been having regular conference calls with our leadership and ensuring they have the latest information possible," Irwin said. South Carolina ARES would potentially scale back statewide operations, excluding operators at SCEMD and those directly assisting the coastal counties later today. "Everyone is reminded that this is a fluid situation and these decisions are subject to change without notice," he added.

    In North Carolina, emergency managers are anticipating the worst effects of the storm on Thursday and Friday. Evacuation routes have been established, and 390 North Carolina National Guard soldiers have been activated and are standing by to respond, along with 56 high-water vehicles and 19 aircraft. The storm's heaviest impact is expected to be east of Interstate Route 95, with rain and storm surge the primary threats. Medical and general sheltering operations are under way and there are accommodations for pets.

    [1] https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
    [2] https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
    [3] https://www.scemd.org/

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