VOIPWX 2018 Atlantic Hurricanes
The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season was a bit less active than 2017 but still had 3 formal activations for landfalling or potential landfall hurricanes. Tropical Storm Gordon was a system we formally activated for due to the potential for Gordon to intensify to hurricane strength but did not do so. The two landfalling hurricanes we did activate for was Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael.
Hurricane Florence was a multi-day activation that while it lost major hurricane status intensity as it approached Eastern North Carolina, moved very slowly resulting in one of the most significant flooding events in Eastern North Carolina from slow moving heavy rainfall over that region that brought rainfall totals between 20 and 35″ of rain and flooding and submerged areas for weeks after Florence left the region. Florence also produced sustained hurricane force conditions, downed trees and power lines, structural damage from both flooding and damaging winds and life-threatening storm surge. Our net handled a number of critical reports for supporting WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center and also handled emergency traffic for a high water rescue in the affected area of Florence in Eastern North Carolina. Its a case where a life was likely saved by the nets efforts directly. The net activation received publicity in Amateur Radio Newsline as well.
Hurricane Michael was a shorter 1 to 1.5 day activation for a system that intensified as it made landfall in the Florida panhandle. Michael caused wind damage that was as destructive as an EF-2 or even EF-3 tornado but over a larger area near the center of the hurricane. This caused widespread structural damage as well as damage to trees and wires. Storm surge flooding was catastrophic in the area of Mexico Beach, Florida as well. The net was often very quiet during the activation likely owing to the fact that the winds were so powerful, Amateur Operators had to take cover as the worst hit their region. Nonetheless, numerous reports of winds sustained at 100 MPH with gusts over 115 MPH were received by monitoring weather stations before they were no longer visible online or were damaged by the winds. The significant wind damage and extreme hurricane force winds extended into Southeast Georgia as well as Michael moved steadily through the region. Michael would then weaken and produce heavy rainfall and severe weather inland into the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Local ARES groups supported communications in their region for several weeks after Michael affected the region.
A complete archive of the different Hurricane responses across the Amateur Radio community from Florence and Michael can be found at the following link:
A complete archive of reports compiled via the VoIP Hurricane Net can be seen in our report viewer in the following link: