Monday, June 12, 2006

Hurricane Watch


Hurricane Watch Net Anticipates Activation for First Storm of 2006 Season

NEWINGTON, CT, Jun 12, 2006--With Tropical Storm Alberto expected to be reach hurricane strength, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has announced that it anticipates activating later today. The net works in cooperation with WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to gather real-time, ground-level weather data during storms. NHC forecasters use the reports to help fine-tune their predictions of a storm's behavior.
"Tropical Storm Alberto will be upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane with forecast landfall in northwestern Florida sometime tomorrow," HWN Manager Mike Pilgrim, K5MP, said in a midday announcement. "While it may be premature at this hour to declare a definite plan, let it suffice to say that we tentatively plan to open HWN net operations on 14.325 MHz late this evening, pending advisory guidance between now and 5 PM Eastern Daylight Time."
To provide as much lead time as possible, Pilgrim has advised monitoring the Maritime Mobile Service Net (MMSN) frequency of 14.300 MHz throughout the afternoon for an announcement pertaining to HWN operations as early as this evening. He called on HWN members to "maintain readiness and availability" for what could be a call to duty.
As of 1500 UTC, a hurricane warning had been issued for the Gulf Coast of Florida from Longboat Key to the Ochlockonee River. The NHC forecast warns, "Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion."
The NHC says reports from a US Air Force hurricane hunter plane indicate that Alberto's center has reformed northeast of its earlier location. At last report, the storm was reported 190 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida, and about 220 miles southwest of Cedar Key, Florida. Alberto is moving toward the north-northeast at near 7 MPH, with maximum sustained winds of nearly 70 MPH with higher gusts.
"Alberto has the potential to become a hurricane within the next 24 hours," the NHC forecast says. With tropical storm-force winds extending outward up to 230 miles to the northeast and southeast of the center, Alberto will be felt along the coast well in advance of the arrival of its center, the NHC said. High winds could be accompanied by coastal storm surge flooding of 8 to 10 feet above normal tide levels and rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches possible through Tuesday, June 13, across portions of Central and Northern Florida and Southeastern Georgia.
"If present forecast information holds true," Pilgrim said, "the HWN will surely be active beginning at first band opening tomorrow--estimated at 8 AM EDT--and will remain active until Hurricane Alberto has ceased being a threat to land."
The VoIP Hurricane Net has invited ARES, RACES, SKYWARN and other emergency communication groups such as SATERN, MARS and REACT to utilize the VoIP Hurricane Net as another means to pass weather data, damage and other pertinent reports to WX4NHC and other national agencies. More information, including net activation status, is on the VoIP Hurricane Net Web site.

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