The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has announced tentative plans to activate on October 9 at 2100 UTC on both 14.325 and 7.268 MHz as now-Hurricane Michael is forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane later today. It is expected to make landfall somewhere on the Florida Panhandle on the evening of October 10 as a strong Category 2 or possibly a major Category 3 hurricane.
“However, don’t focus on the primary dotted line of the forecast track, as Mother Nature has a way of changing her mind as to where a storm can go,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, cautioned.
Now boasting sustained winds of 75 MPH, the storm is moving to the north at 7 MPH. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said storm surge and hurricane watches are now in effect for portions of the northeastern Gulf Coast area. Some areas along the Florida Gulf Coast are especially vulnerable to storm surge, regardless of the storm’s exact track or intensity.
Graves said that given the current forecast track and forward speed, the HWN has tentative plans to activate Tuesday afternoon at 2100 UTC, remaining on 20 meters for as long as propagation allows and suspending operations on 7.268 MHz at 0300 UTC on Wednesday, October 10. Operations will resume at 1230 UTC on both 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz and will remain in operation until further notice.
At 1200 UTC on Monday, October 8, Michael was some 120 miles east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and about 70 miles south of the western tip of Cuba. Watches and warnings are already in effect for parts of Mexico and Cuba. In addition to the storm surge watch for sections of the Florida and Alabama Gulf Coast, a tropical storm watch is in effect from Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, Florida, including Tampa Bay, and for the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.
Hurricane conditions are expected over portions of western Cuba, where a hurricane warning is now in effect. Tropical storm conditions are expected today over the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula and the Isle of Youth, with heavy rainfall and flash flooding expected during the next couple of days.
Graves said the HWN remains available to provide back-up communications to official agencies such as emergency operations centers, Red Cross officials, and storm shelters in the affected areas. “We will also be interested [in collecting and reporting] significant damage assessment data back to FEMA officials stationed in the National Hurricane Center,” he added.