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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB075 (1998)

ARLB075 Hurricane Georges hits Caribbean Islands

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 75  ARLB075
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  September 21, 1998
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB075 Hurricane Georges hits Caribbean Islands

As of 1 PM EDT today, the eye of Georges was passing near the island
of St Croix. It was due to strike Puerto Rico by 5 PM EDT. Puerto
Rico Section Manager Guillermo Schwarz, KP3S, reports that island
amateurs are waiting and monitoring hurricane net frequencies.

Maximum sustained winds are near 110 mph, making this is a strong
Category 2 storm, which could generate a significant storm surge.
Georges is expected to remain a dangerous hurricane during the next
24 hours. Press reports indicate the storm's powerful winds already
have ripped off roofs and downed power lines. Residents were said to
be taking refuge in shelters in Puerto Rico and in the US Virgin
Islands. Both US territories have declared states of emergency and
activated National Guard troops. Areas in the storm's path may
expect similar damage. Small craft may be torn from moorings in
unprotected anchorages.

Several nets and stations are expected to play roles in the
emergency and recovery phases. These include National Hurricane
Center station W4EHW, the Hurricane Watch Net on 14.325 MHz, a
Salvation Army (SATERN) net, and the Antilles Emergency and Weather
Net on 3815 kHz. Other nets are likely to be active. US Virgin
Islands SM John Ellis, NP2B, was reported on the Hurricane Watch Net
using a dipole strung in his house. The Hurricane Watch Net control
op is still looking for hams in the affected areas. Amateurs are
advised to avoid transmitting on relief net frequencies unless
directed to do so by net control stations.

As expected disaster welfare inquiries begin to swell, the National
Red Cross requests that amateur operators in and outside the
affected areas refer clients and inquiries to local Red Cross
chapters. If chapters refuse to process inquiries because a
moratorium is in place, amateurs can record information using ARC
Form 2079h, available from ARRL HQ. When the moratorium is lifted,
the operator should forward the completed forms to the local ARC
chapter for service. When amateurs accept an inquiry, they must
advise the client of the above procedure. Clients must also be
advised to expect a delay in reply depending on the extend of damage
to the telecommunications infrastructure.

In accordance with standard ARC procedures, a moratorium of at least
48 hours will be imposed on all inquiries for US territories in the
Caribbean following Hurricane Georges. National Red Cross requests
that no inquiries be sent to these locations during the moratorium.
Also, during the moratorium, clients should be advised not to call
Disaster Services, National Red Cross Headquarters.


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