Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, says the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season has been relatively quiet up until now, but September typically is the peak month for storms. The quick-developing Tropical Storm Gordon now is forecast to make landfall late on Tuesday evening as a Category 1 hurricane. In preparation, the Hurricane Watch Net will activate at 1500 UTC on September 4 on 14.325 MHz. The net remains at Alert Level 3.
“We will remain in operation on 20 metres until the band closes,” Graves said. “Additionally, we will start 40 metre operations on 7.268 MHz beginning at 2200 UTC and will remain operational overnight.”
He said that if circumstances dictate and Gordon still has not made landfall as predicted, the 40 metre net will take a break at 1130 UTC, resuming, if required, at 1230 UTC to allow the Waterway Net to convene.
“By all indications, Gordon should be well inland and weakened to tropical storm status by that time,” Graves said.
As of 2100 UTC on September 3, Gordon was 50 miles west-southwest of Fort Myers, Florida, and some 445 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with maximum sustained winds of 50 MPH. The storm is moving to the west-northwest at 17 MPH. A Hurricane Warning has been issued for portions of the central Gulf Coast. Gradual strengthening is forecast over the next 36 hours.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Gordon is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and hurricane conditions to portions of the central Gulf Coast, where a Storm Surge Warning and Hurricane Warning are in effect. Residents of these areas should heed the advice of local officials. “All preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion, as tropical storm conditions are expected to arrive in the warning areas Tuesday afternoon or evening,” the NHC Advisory said at 2130 UTC.
“Heavy rainfall from Gordon will affect southern Alabama, southern Mississippi, and Louisiana, where totals could reach as high as 8 inches. This rainfall could cause flash flooding. Rainfall will continue across portions of South Florida and the Florida Keys through early Tuesday, where totals could reach as high as 8 inches.
The HWN requests estimated and/or measured ground-level weather information, including wind speed and direction, barometric pressure and direction, rainfall, damage, and storm surge. The HWN remains available to provide backup communication for official agencies such as emergency operations centers and Red Cross officials in the affected area.
“We will also be interested to collect and report significant damage assessment data for FEMA officials stationed in the National Hurricane Center,” Graves added.