Hurricane Maria is now about 205 miles SE of the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands moving WNW at 9 mph as an extremely strong category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 155 mph (category 5 begins at 157 mph).. Fluctuations in strength can be expected throughout the day and Maria is forecasted to regain category 5 strength later in the day if it is not already there. Hurricane Maria is currently about 310 miles wide.
Hurricane Maria made its first of several projected landfalls last night at 2015 (CT) / 0115 Z on the island of Dominca in the Leeward Islands chain as a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 160 mph and gusts of up to 200 mph. Maria continues to be a significant threat to many islands in the Caribbean that have already been impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and especially Irma over the last several weeks.
At this time, Hurricane Warnings are in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra and Viegues.. Hurricane Watches are in effect for Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, Anguilla, Isla Saona to Puerto Plata. Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Anguilla, St. Luicia and Martinique. Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for St. Vincent, the Grenadines and west of Puerto Plata to the northern border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
CNN reports the Prime Minister of the island of Dominica as saying that his island country has been “devastated” by Hurricane Maria. An amateur radio report from the VoIP Weather Net at 2030 (CT) / 0130 Z reports that the Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt lost the foof of his own home in the category 5 landfall along with several other reports of damage received overnight. It should also be noted that the islands of Puerto Rico and Hispanola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti) are directly in the currently forecasted path for Hurricane Maria..
At this time, it is not clear if Hurricane Maria will be a threat to the United States or not. Various “Spaghetti Models” (computer generated potential tracks) are attached below: indicate that it is likely (but not necessarily certain) that Maria will turn north sometime after it passes the Dominican Republic on Thursday. However, it is much too early to say anything certain about this as of yet.
Although Hurricane Jose does not currently appear to present a threat of a direct landfall on the United States, it continues to sweep northwards and will impact the eastern U.S. coastline from Florida to New England with rip currents, heavy surf and, in New England, with tropical force winds.
Tuesday, 19 September through Friday, 22 September 2017:
Beginning at 0900 (CT) / 1400 Z on Tuesday, 19 September 2017, the International SATERN SSB Net will move to a Delta II (extended monitoring) status until 1800 (CT) / 2300 Z. From 1800 (CT) / 2300 Z until 0900 (CT) / 1400 Z the next day, SATERN operators will again be encouraged to monitor either of the Hurricane Watch Net frequencies as conditions dictate.
This same schedule will continue through at least Friday, 22 September 2017. It is possible that this same schedule will be continued longer depending upon (a) the level of threat posed by Hurricane Maria, and (b) the needs of The Salvation Army.
NET CONTROL AND ASSISTANT NET CONTROL STATIONS ARE NEEDED!
Stations interested in signing up for one or more one hour slot(s) between 1100 (CT) / 1600 Z through 1800 (CT) / 2300 Z to be either a Net Control Station or Assistant Net Control Station should contact Net Manager Ken Gilliland (AG6SV) at AG6SV@ATT.net and Assistant Net Manager Bob Rogers (WA5EEZ) at BobRgrs@Hotmail.com .
Stations checking-in from the potentially impacted areas will be asked to provide the Net Control Station with the following information:
1. Any emergency, priority or health & welfare messages that may come out of the impacted area(s)
2. A brief situation report from the stations’ location that includes:
a. Is there any hurricane wind damage? If so, is it minor moderate or severe?
b. Is there any flood or storm surge damage? If so, is it minor moderate or severe?
c. Are there any power outages? If so, how wide-spread?
d. Are there any communications disruptions? If so, what kind and how wide-spread?
Neither the SATERN Net nor SATERN.org will be accepting Health & Welfare INBOUND messages (That is, Health & Welfare Messages inquiries going to people inside an impacted area). INBOUND Health & Welfare Inquiries should be referred to the American Red Cross Safe and Well program at: https://safeandwell.communityos.org/
Only OUTBOUND Health & Welfare messages (e.g. messages coming OUT of a potentially impacted area) will be accepted.
Both the International SATERN SSB Net and the Hurricane Watch Net strongly encourage the participation of bi-lingual (English & Spanish) amateur radio operators on their Nets.
Hurricane Maria is a potentially dangerous storm which will bring category 2 and 3 winds, storm surge and torrential rain to numerous Caribbean islands that have already been severely damaged by last week’s Hurricane Irma.
International SATERN Digital Net: There are no current plans to activate this net at this time.
Southern Territory SATERN SSB Net: There are no current plans to activate this net at this time.
Hurricane Watch Net (HWN): The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) activated yesterday at 0400 (CT) / 0900 Z. It continues to be in operation at a Level 5 (Catastrophic Response). Please watch their website at HWN.org or further details. SATERN stations should NOT check-in but only monitor the frequency. Significant situation or damage reports can be sent to National SATERN Liaison Bill Feist (WB8BZH) at Bill.Feist@USS.SalvationArmy.org.
VoIP Hurricane Net: The VoIP Weather / SKYWARN Net activated yesterday at 1000 (CT) / 1400 Z. Additional information including several methods of listening in on the Net live are available at VoIPWX.net.
WX4NHC: The amateur radio station for the National Hurricane Center (WX4NHC) has also been activated.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.