Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays to All from the VoIP Hurricane Net Management Team!
Hello to all..
On behalf of the VoIP Hurricane Net Management Team, we would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays to all. Thanks to all of you for your support of the VoIP Hurricane Net during 2018.
The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season was a bit less active than 2017 but still had 3 formal activations for landfalling or potential landfall hurricanes. Tropical Storm Gordon was a system we formally activated for due to the potential for Gordon to intensify to hurricane strength but did not do so. The two landfalling hurricanes we did activate for was Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael.
Hurricane Florence was a multi-day activation that while it lost major hurricane status intensity as it approached Eastern North Carolina, moved very slowly resulting in one of the most significant flooding events in Eastern North Carolina from slow moving heavy rainfall over that region that brought rainfall totals between 20 and 35″ of rain and flooding and submerged areas for weeks after Florence left the region. Florence also produced sustained hurricane force conditions, downed trees and power lines, structural damage from both flooding and damaging winds and life-threatening storm surge. Our net handled a number of critical reports for supporting WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center and also handled emergency traffic for a high water rescue in the affected area of Florence in Eastern North Carolina. Its a case where a life was likely saved by the nets efforts directly. The net activation received publicity in Amateur Radio Newsline as well.
Hurricane Michael was a shorter 1 to 1.5 day activation for a system that intensified as it made landfall in the Florida panhandle. Michael caused wind damage that was as destructive as an EF-2 or even EF-3 tornado but over a larger area near the center of the hurricane. This caused widespread structural damage as well as damage to trees and wires. Storm surge flooding was catastrophic in the area of Mexico Beach, Florida as well. The net was often very quiet during the activation likely owing to the fact that the winds were so powerful, Amateur Operators had to take cover as the worst hit their region. Nonetheless, numerous reports of winds sustained at 100 MPH with gusts over 115 MPH were received by monitoring weather stations before they were no longer visible online or were damaged by the winds. The significant wind damage and extreme hurricane force winds extended into Southeast Georgia as well as Michael moved steadily through the region. Michael would then weaken and produce heavy rainfall and severe weather inland into the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Local ARES groups supported communications in their region for several weeks after Michael affected the region.
A complete archive of the different Hurricane responses across the Amateur Radio community from Florence and Michael can be found at the following link:
A complete archive of reports compiled via the VoIP Hurricane Net can be seen in our report viewer in the following link:
As occurs yearly, we supported and presented at the 2018 National Hurricane Conference in Orlando Florida. Also occurring yearly, we did support WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio Station at the National Hurricane Center with the WX4NHC Communications Test at the start of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season. As our main client, we appreciate WX4NHC’s support of our net and thank WX4NHC Coordinators, Julio Ripoll-WD4R and John McHugh-K4AG for their support. They have been an incredible partner with the VoIP Hurricane Net dating back to the net’s inception in the 2003-2004 timeframe. We also had another successful SKYWARN Recognition Day event on the home of the VoIP Hurricane Net, Echolink conference: *WX-TALK* Node: 7203/IRLP 9219. Many NWS offices rotated on the system making contacts with Amateur Radio Operators and SKYWARN Spotters from around the country thanking them for their support as well as making contact with different NWS offices around the country.
On a personal note, it was great to host Julio Ripoll-WD4R, Assistant WX4NHC Coordinator for a visit to South Coastal Massachusetts and my home location on Thursday September 6th 2018 and show him the local NWS Boston/Norton Massachusetts new office location and our Amateur Radio station and to have him present at the 2018 Boxboro ARRL New England Division Convention into Friday September 7th, 2018. It is another great memory from the 2018.
As we move into next year, we will again have a presence at the 2019 National Hurricane Conference which will be in New Orleans Louisiana in late April 2019. We will look at doing training presentations particularly on the non-hurricane season months in 2019 and continue the question of the week format for the weekly nets and possibly do a few training sessions during the weekly nets that we have during the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season. We will also look at boosting more stations and contacts within the affected areas of hurricanes to provide critical surface reports to WX4NHC. We will also be factoring in many lessons learned from the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season for net activations in 2019 and this information will be factored into an updated NCO training for the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season. We will also be looking further at how stations outside of the affected area can assist with weather station, public safety and social media monitoring to provide more information for situational awareness and disaster intelligence during hurricane net activations and further investigate the experimentation with Zello utilized during Hurricane Net with CCARG. We will also continue the work started by Lloyd Colston-KC5FM on integrating DMR/DSTAR and All-Star into our net as we expand the digitial voice mode capabilities of our net. Finally, we would like to ask folks that might be interested to be a net control for the weekly/monthly VoIP Hurricane Prep Net and for net activations to please contact me directly as a reply to this email or at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to working with everyone again in 2019. The next VoIP Hurricane Prep Net will be will be Saturday January 5th, 2019 at 8 PM ET/7 PM CT/6 PM MT/5 PM PT which also equates to 0100 UTC Sunday. The net will meet monthly through May and then become weekly during the Atlantic Hurricane Season. We again wish all of our reporting stations, net controls and supporting stations that listen to the VoIP Hurricane Net a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a Happy Holiday season!
Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net