The ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team is in monitoring status as Hurricane Michael heads for landfall this week on the Gulf Coast.
As of 1200 UTC, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Hurricane Michael was gaining strength while moving to the north-northwest at 12 MPH over the southeaster Gulf of Mexico. “Life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rainfall is expected along the northeastern Gulf Coast,” the NHC advised. The storm was reported to be some 395 miles south of Panama City, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 100 MPH, making it a Category 2 storm.
On its current forecast track, Michael will move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through tonight, moving inland over the Florida Panhandle or Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then northeastward across the US southeast on Wednesday night and Thursday, the NHC said.
“As we get closer to Michael making landfall, updates from ARRL to the Sections in the storm’s path will continue,” ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said in a message to Field Organization leaders in the Northern Florida and Alabama Sections.
Corey said ARRL Headquarters is seeking information from Field Organization teams on current activation status, frequencies in use for response, and any requests such as Ham Aid equipment or liaison to national partners.
The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has announced tentative plans to activate on October 9 at 2100 UTC on both 14.325 and 7.268. The Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Hurricane Net is planning to activate starting early on Wednesday, continuing into late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. The Salvation Army Team Emergency Network (SATERN) Southern Territory SSB Net will activate on 7.265 MHz beginning on Wednesday at 1300 UTC, continuing until 0100 UTC on Thursday.
“As always, we prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Corey said.
The Cuban Federation of Radio Amateurs has announced that emergency nets for Hurricane Michael are already active in Cuba on 40 and 80 meters. Announced frequencies are 7,110 kHz (primary) and 7,120 kHz (secondary), and 3,740 kHz (primary) and 3,740 kHz (secondary). Operation is expected to be on SSB and digital modes as required. The NHC said western Cuba could see 4 to 8 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of 12 inches. “This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” the NHC said.