I hope this newsletter find everyone doing well.
This hot summer seems to be making up for the cold, snow and ice, which we encountered in December and January and which now is only a distant fading memory.
I made a New Years Resolution back then not to say in August “gee I’ll be glad when winter get here”. So far I have kept that resolution. Though the temptation is looming ever nearer.
Usually I resolve to make no resolutions. It keeps everything simple.
As we endure this heat. Remember to drink lots of fluids, hug the shade & avoid the afternoon sun.
Also, don’t forget to bring Fido in. If it’s hot for you, think of him wearing a fur coat. And, if you decide to torture, I mean walk the dog in this heat, do so barefooted, so you will get a taste of what you are treating him to.
He will probably look up and say “Bubba, I told you this was a bad idea`.”
Hurricane Season Approaches Peak
We are now rapidly approaching the peak of Hurricane Season. As we near this period here are some names you may remember:
Camille, August 17, 1969, Category Five
Fredrick, September 12, 1979, Category Four
Opal, October 4, 1995 Category Three
Ivan, September 16, 2004 Category Three
Katrina, August 29, 2005 Category Three
All these storms, and many others have affected and in some cases forever changed lives and landscapes in Alabama.
Some storms were well warned, such as Katrina.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
ISSUED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE AL
1205 PM CDT MONDAY AUG 29 2005
…EXTREME DANGEROUS HURRICANE KATRINA MOVING ACROSS SOUTHEAST
…DEVASTATING DAMAGE CONTINUES ALONG ITS PATH…
KATRINA…NOW A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE WITH WINDS OF 125 MPH AND
HIGHER GUSTS…WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE NORTHWARD ACROSS SOUTHEAST
MISSISSIPPI AND INTO EAST CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI THROUGH THE AFTERNOON
AND EVENING HOURS. ALONG AND NEAR KATRINA’S PATH…EXPECT PARTIAL TO
COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT WILL
SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE…INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.
HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY…A
FEW POSSIBLY TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. MANY WINDOWS WILL
AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD…AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH
AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY
VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE
ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION…PERSONS…PETS…AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE
WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.
POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS…AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN
AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING
INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED…ONLY
THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING…BUT BE TOTALLY DE-FOLIATED.
THE HURRICANE FORCE WINDS WILL GRADUALLY DIMINISH BELOW HURRICANE
STRENGTH FROM SOUTH TO NORTH THROUGH THE LATE AFTERNOON AND EARLY
Other storms were seemingly minor problems until they suddenly became major problems literally overnight. Among these would be Fredrick, which went from Category One to Category Four in 30 hours. Or Opal, which went from Category One to Category Four in just 18 hours.
No Tropical system should be taken lightly.
It’s been six years now since Katrina struck the Gulf Coast and the odds are very much in favor of Alabama soon being visited once again by a major hurricane. And, if not a major one, one of the ‘little pesky ones” that will affect us in some way.
Alabama is impacted by hurricanes in three ways:
1. Direct Impact – Where the core of the storm or the rain / wind field actually strikes or passes through a portion of Alabama. Examples being Hurricane’s Fredrick, Opal, Ivan or Katrina.
2. Indirect Impact – where the core is not over Alabama, but the feeder bands are passing through and causing havoc. Rita’s feeder band being a good example, which dropped 20 tornadoes over western Alabama in a 4 hour period
3. Distant Impact – A storm is not even near Alabama, but affecting our weather. Such as with Olivia, a Pacific Hurricane which was off Western Mexico. Her moisture was captured by the jet stream, crossed the Sonora desert, the Arklatex region & dumped monsoon type rains on Alabama & Mississippi, causing flooding.
ALERT’s role during these situations is that we usually activate for major hurricanes affecting the coast or central Alabama, citing scenario 1 & 2 mentioned above.
When we activate, since our local nets probably won’t be active until sometime after landfall, we will monitor D-Star, and or possibly (as has been suggested) temporarily deploy an HF antenna or use an offsite HF capable liaison.
If you have HF capability, the Gulf Coast Nets to monitor are:
Primary State ARES Frequencies & Nets for Gulf of Mexico & regular meeting times.
3.965 MHz Alabama Emergency Net Mike 4:00 PM Sunday
3.940 MHz Florida Amateur Single Sideband Net 6:00 PM
3.975 MHz Georgia Single Sideband Net 7:30 PM
3.910 MHz Louisiana Traffic Net 6:30 PM
3.862 MHz Mississippi Section Phone Net 6:00 PM
3.873 MHz Texas Traffic Net 6:30 PM
Wide Coverage Nets
14.235 MHz Hurricane Watch Net As Needed
3.935 MHz Central Gulf Coast Hurricane Net 1:00 UTC
Now with the Hurricane Watch Net, remember that it is only activated when a storm is within 300 miles of a populated land mass. This net is one where you usually don’t check in to, only listen. Only if you have a legitimate need to check in do you do so – emergency/priority traffic or if the NCS specifically calls for a station in Central Alabama, should you even pick the microphone up.
Once upon a time a Hurricane, I think Gilbert, was rearranging Jamaica & the NCS asked “do we have any stations in the affected area, the affected area only?” Some Old Soak from zero-land, piped in and slowly drawled out “This is Kay Zero Que Arr Emmm, Homer over in Tulsa Oklahoma, just wanting to tell you fellers what a fine job, a fine job you fellers are doing. And, if I can be of any help, any help at all just let me know. This is Homer, K0QRM, over in Tulsa Oklahoma on frequency and standing by.”
Fifteen distress calls probably could have been received and handled in the time it took Homer to get “on the side”.
Learn from a bad example. Don’t do this.
When activated, a live audio feed of the Net is available at http://14300stream.homeip.net:88/broadwave.asx?src=fhwn&kbps=16
Other feeds may become available. Check for updates at:
Once the threat area moves into Central Alabama we will monitor the VHF nets as we normally do.
We the callouts are issued; we will need your help. If available (and please consider being available) call the liaison listed in the callout, which will be either Nathan or Russell volunteer.
As a “callout veteran” of Hurricanes Ivan, Dennis and Katrina, I will say you won’t regret the choice. Having a chance to be a part of history in the making doesn’t come around every day.
Your chance is coming soon.
August was originally named “Sextilis”, the sixth Roman month. It was renamed August in honor of Caesar Augustus & was lengthened to 31 days, to equal Julius Caesars month of July.
August is hot and humid & summer temperatures remain at or near their summer peak.
The rapid vegetation growth of spring is over, and, since conditions are now perfect for the growth of mold, fungi & germs, plants have a “used” look, which is enhanced if rainfall is scarce.
Towards the end of the month the big Yellow Sulphur Butterflies will begin heading to the South-Southeast, giving hints of their soon upcoming fall migration & cats will begin to hint of growing their winter coats.
Hurricane breeding grounds in August are the Atlantic, with Low Latitude storms forming off of Africa crossing the Ocean and either threatening the Eastern Seaboard or striking the Leeward Islands, entering the Caribbean and then striking the Yucatan, or the Western or Northern Gulf coast. Breeding grounds also include the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
21% of a year’s Hurricanes occur in August. 85 to 95% of land falling Hurricanes have not occurred by August 15.
The Perseid Meteor Shower peaks on August 12, with 50 to 60 meteors per hour (if you can get away from city lights). However this year the light of the practically full Moon will fill the sky all night and will hide all but the brightest meteors.
August’s full moon is “Fruit Moon” in Cherokee Folklore & “Women’s Moon” among the Choctaw.
One prominent object that will be visible, and which is occasionally reported as a UFO is Jupiter, brightly visible in Aries after midnight.
Now, most importantly, of all, never ever forget that August is National Goat Cheese Month.
This Olde Goat told you so.
When you get a chance, “talk up ALERT”. Let people know who we are, what we do & why they should be involved. For YOU are the best recruitment tool we have.
This month’s meeting will be on August 9 at 7PM at the National Weather Service
Forecast office at the Shelby County Airport.
I hope to see you there.
Mark / WD4NYL