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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB077 (1998)

ARLB077 Florida hams brace for Hurricane Georges

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 77  ARLB077
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  September 23, 1998
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB077 Florida hams brace for Hurricane Georges

Hams in Southern Florida were standing by Wednesday afternoon, ready
to respond as Hurricane Georges moves toward the US from the
Caribbean. At 1900 UTC the storm's eye was located approximately
between the islands of Hispaniola and Cuba.

Southern Florida Section Emergency Coordinator Manny Papandreas,
W4SS, said he expects the Southern Florida Emergency Net to activate
Wednesday evening. He said it appears that Hurricane Georges could
end up affecting the Florida Keys and then Florida's West Coast, but
the storm's precise course was uncertain Wednesday afternoon. ''We
don't know where this thing is going to go,'' he said. ''All the
local nets have been activated almost every evening. Everything so
far in the section is on standby.''

Residents and visitors to the Florida Keys were evacuated Wednesday
and some schools were closed. A hurricane watch remains in effect
for South Florida from Deerfield Beach southward on the East Coast
and from Bonita Beach southward on the West Coast, including the
Florida keys. The hurricane's destructive winds and rains cover a
wide swath.

Papandreas said SKYWARN nets are standing by on both Florida coasts
as the storm approaches to track any tornadoes it might generate.
''The SKYWARN operators are extremely valuable, particularly during
the daytime, for tornado warnings,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the Hurricane Watch Net on 14.325 MHz has been keeping
track of the storm and filing its reports with the National
Hurricane Center via W4EHW. KE4JCU/HH4 in Haiti reported that his
location was on the back side of the storm with high winds from the
due south. ''I don't want to overestimate it, but it's really
howling through here,'' he told the net control. US Amateurs on
other HF nets have been handling health and welfare traffic for
concerned relatives in the US.

More than two dozen people are reported dead in the Caribbean
islands hit by the storm. Reports indicate many parts of Puerto Rico
are without electrical power.

Virginia ARES, which provides communication support during
emergencies to American Red Cross Headquarters, has downgraded the
level of its activation. The Virginia ARES activation was reduced
from Level III to Level II as commercial communications improve in
US territories affected by the hurricane. Virginia ARES/RACES
Director Frank Mackey, K4EC, says Virginia hams monitor various
emergency nets and report relevant information via the Internet or
packet through Virginia ARES to the Red Cross. The Red Cross uses
the information to plan its disaster response.


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