The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has announced plans to reactivate its nets in advance of Hurricane Sandy’s approach to the East Coast of the United States. The HWN will relay on-the-ground reports from hams to WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio Station at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami. The forecasters at the NHC are predicting that Sandy — currently a Category 1 hurricane — will move parallel to the southeast coast of the United States through the weekend and approach the coast of the Mid-Atlantic states late on Monday. The storm is not expected to strengthen in the next 48 hours.
As of 5 PM (EDT) on Saturday, October 27, Hurricane Sandy is about 225 miles east-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina and 345 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. With maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour, Sandy is moving toward the northeast at speeds near 13 miles per hour. This general motion is forecast to continue through Sunday; a turn toward the north is forecast for Sunday night, followed by a turn toward the north-northwest on Monday.
The Hurricane Watch Net will begin operations on Sunday, October 28 at 5 PM EDT (2100 UTC) on 14.325, 7.268 and 3.950 MHz. According to HWN Spokesman Stan Broadway, N8BHL, this session will consist of a test and check-in period: “This will be open to all, but [this session] will allow temporary installations and Emergency Operations Centers to confirm their stations are working properly. We will then launch the net in full operation Monday morning for the duration of the storm’s impact on the East Coast.” The Sunday night session will run through 9 PM EDT (0100, Monday, October 29).
On Monday morning, the HWN will continue its net operations. Beginning at 8 AM (1200 UTC) — and running until Sandy passes through — the HWN will again open their net frequencies on 14.325 and 7.268 MHz, and using 3.950 MHz as propagation dictates. “We will check into the Waterways Net during morning hours and copy their reports,” Broadway explained. “The HWN sincerely appreciates the cooperation of the 68 groups and other nets for allowing us these frequencies.”
According to Broadway, the HWN encourages all amateurs who are in the area affected by the storm to listen to the nets and to and report the local conditions. “We do not need relayed reports from the media, airports or other sources, as the National Hurricane Center already has access to that information,” he said. “We rely on measured conditions, so please tell us whether your barometer has been calibrated when sending us your data. A typical report consists of your call sign, name, city, state , measured sustained wind, measured highest wind gust, wind direction, measured barometer, any rainfall (or rate of rain if above normal) and any flooding or damages you can report. Remember that your own safety and that of your family comes first.”