WCF SECTION PRESS RELEASE #30

NEIL LAURITSEN W4NHL IS A SILENT KEY

On Friday September 13, 2017, Neil Lauritsen W4NHL became a Silent Key.  Neil was previously the Section Emergency Coordinator for the ARRL West Central Florida Section from 2005-2014, and had served for a number of years as the Emergency Coordinator for Pinellas County ARES/ACS and a District Emergency Coordinator.  After retiring as Section Emergency Coordinator at the end of 2014, Neil continued to be involved in Pinellas County ARES/ACS, served as an Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator, and was active in NAVY Mars and SHARES.  Neil in his working career had been in Fire Rescue services in the state of Maryland.

There will be a memorial service for Neil on Monday October 30, 2017 at 1330 (1:30 P.M.) at Bay Pines National Cemetery at 10000 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg, FL 33708.  Please remember the family of Neil in your prayers and thoughts during this difficult time.

END OF PRESS RELEASE

WCF SECTION PRESS RELEASE #29

MIKE DOUGLAS W4MDD APPOINTED AS AFFILIATED CLUB COORDINATOR

On Sunday October 1st, Darrell Davis KT4WX, Section Manager for the ARRL West Central Florida Section appointed Mike Douglas W4MDD as the Affiliated Club Coordinator for the ARRL West Central Florida Section.  Douglas, originally from the Chicago area and first licensed as N9OEV,  is retired from a career in commercial bus driving and also had an extensive volunteer background in the elections system of Lake County, Illinois.  Douglas is currently involved with the Hardee County ARES program and recently became an Assistant Emergency Coordinator and an ARRL Official Emergency Station.

Rich Kennedy N4ESS, who has served as the ARRL West Central Florida Section Public Information Coordinator and the Affiliated Club Coordinator is continuing in his capacity as Public Information Coordinator.  Douglas is now traveling to various Section hamfests during the fall hamfest season and is planning on getting out to more local club meetings in the coming months.

The ARRL West Central Florida Section welcomes Mike Douglas W4MDD on board as the new Affiliated Club Coordinator.

WCF SECTION PRESS RELEASE #28

SECTION HF NET CANCELLATIONS FOR OCTOBER

The HF edition of the ARRL West Central Florida Section ARES and Information Net has been cancelled for Saturday October 14 and Saturday October 21.  The cancellations are due to the ARRL forum and Florida Tri-Section ARES meeting being held in conjunction with the Melbourne Hamfest on Saturday October 14 and the ARRL West Central Florida Section ARES Luncheon and the ARRL West Central Florida Section ARES Meeting being held on Saturday October 21.  The HF edition of the ARRL West Central Florida Section ARES and Information will resume normal operation on Saturday October 28 at 0730 or immediately following the Florida Phone Traffic Net whichever is later, on 3940 KHz.  All other Section nets will continue to operate as scheduled.

END OF PRESS RELEASE

WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN #8 – 1100 EDT – 9/11/17

SITUATION:  As of 1100 EDT, Tropical Storm Irma was located about 65 miles east of Tallahassee.  Irma is now downgraded to a Tropical Storm. and is currently moving north-northwest at approximately 17 miles per hour, and has maximum sustained winds of 130 MPH, a Category 3 hurricane.  The minimum central pressure is 28.80″.

The only watches or warnings that are still in effect is the Tropical Storm Warning for Pasco County and should be cancelled later today.  There are Flood Warnings for some area rivers in Hardee, Desoto, Charlotte, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties.  Tropical Storm Irma is expected to continue on its current path into southern Georgia this afternoon and northern Alabama by tomorrow morning.

Hurricane Irma Forecast Discussion: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCDAT1+shtml/061448.shtml

Hurricane Irma Graphical Forecast Track: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at1+shtml/145453.shtml?cone#contents

ACTIONS:  Many West Central Florida Section counties have shelters open at this time.  Some ARES groups have been given permission to stand down..  All ARES, ACS, and CERT personnel are requested to continue to closely monitor the National Hurricane Center latest advisories on Tropical Storm Irma and also on the status of Hurricane Jose, whose path is not totally certain as of yet.  ARES Groups in several WCF Section counties have put in request into State of Florida Constellation system for mutual aid after the passage of Tropical Storm Irma.  Amateur Radio operators that are available and have stood down should be prepared to offer assistance, if requested to do so.  However, please do not self-activate as any mutual aid request must come through the State of Florida Constellation system from the local EOC that is requesting assistance for their ARES or ACS group.  Please stay in touch with your local ARES or ACS leadership in case your local ARES group is invited to provide mutual aid in another county.

The Regional SKYWARN Net that was being held on the NI4CE Repeater System closed at approximately 0200, once the severe weather threat have alleviated.  The State of Florida SARNet is currently available for coordination and to help communicate between the county EOC’s and the State EOC and to provide assistance to amateur radio operators in other ways, time permitting.  A conference call is scheduled this afternoon between the Section Emergency Coordinator and the ten ARES Emergency Coordinators.  There will also be a Section ARES Net in the normal time slot this evening at 1930, to assess status and any unmet needs.

Right now the priority is tactical shelter communications that are still open and any EOC Communications, as we are currently in post-storm phase of operations.  Any health and welfare inquiries should go through the American Red Cross “Safe and Well” website.  The link to the ARRL Press Release on this is http://www.arrl.org/news/hurricane-irma-amateur-radio-emergency-and-priority-traffic-is-moving-health-welfare-traffic-queued.  Also the ARRL has release a press release concerning frequency usage during the Hurricane Irma response.  The link to that ARRL press release is http://www.arrl.org/news/operating-procedures-during-hurricane-irma.

The next WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN for Hurricane Irma will be issued tomorrow at 1100 EDT, or sooner if conditions warrant.

END OF SPECIAL BULLETIN

WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN #7 – 1100 EDT – 9/10/17

SITUATION:  As of 1100 EDT, Hurricane Irma was located about 80 miles east south-southeast of Naples and 125 miles south-southeast of Fort Myers.   Irma weakened some late yesterday and reintensified slightly and is currently moving north at approximately 9 miles per hour, and has maximum sustained winds of 130 MPH, a Category 3 hurricane.  The minimum central pressure is 27.55″.  Hurricane Irma finally made the northward turn late last night and early this morning and made its first landfall around 0900 in Cudjoe Key in the Florida Keys.

The forecast track is basically unchanged.  Irma is expected to continue its current track to the north as it is going around the western periphery of the mid-Atlantic ridge of high pressure.  Hurricane Irma is forecast to make its second landfall in the Fort Myers area in Lee County as a Category 3 or 4 Hurricane and move north along the west coast of the Florida peninsula and going inland for a final time in the big bend area between the Florida peninsula and the Florida peninsula tomorrow morning as a Category 1 Hurricane and moving into southwest Georgia by late afternoon as a Tropical Storm.  However, Tropical Storm force winds will impact almost all of the state of Florida.  Hurricane force winds will impact the western side of the Florida peninsula and the big bend area.

Hurricane Irma Forecast Discussion: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCDAT1+shtml/061448.shtml

Hurricane Irma Graphical Forecast Track: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at1+shtml/145453.shtml?cone#contents

ACTIONS:  At this time, all West Central Florida Section counties have shelters open at this time.  All ARES, ACS, and CERT personnel are requested to continue to closely monitor the National Hurricane Center latest advisories on Hurricane Irma.  ARES Groups in several WCF Section counties have put in request into State of Florida Constellation system for mutual aid after the passage of Hurricane Irma.  Amateur Radio operators are continue to be in communications with their respective team leadership in case their assistance with communications support is needed following the passage of Hurricane Irma.  All amateur radio operators and their families should have already completed any preparedness actions and have gone to a shelter, either public if it is not safe to shelter in place.  Pay attention to the latest watches and or warnings as issued by the National Weather Service.

A Regional SKYWARN Net is being currently held on the NI4CE Repeater System to take reports of severe weather.  The State of Florida SARNet is currently running a coordination and assistance net to help communicate between the county EOC’s and the State EOC and to provide assistance to amateur radio operators in other ways, time permitting.

Right now the priority is tactical shelter communications, EOC Communications, and even SKYWARN Nets as Hurricane Irma approaches.  Any health and welfare inquiries should go through the American Red Cross “Safe and Well” website.  The link to the ARRL Press Release on this is http://www.arrl.org/news/hurricane-irma-amateur-radio-emergency-and-priority-traffic-is-moving-health-welfare-traffic-queued.  Also the ARRL has release a press release concerning frequency usage during the Hurricane Irma response.  The link to that ARRL press release is http://www.arrl.org/news/operating-procedures-during-hurricane-irma.

The next WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN for Hurricane Irma will be issued tomorrow at 1100 EDT, or sooner if conditions warrant.

END OF SPECIAL BULLETIN

WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN #6 – 1400 EDT – 9/09/17

SITUATION: As of 14:00 EDT, Hurricane Irma was located about 65 miles east of Varadero, Cuba or about 145 miles southeast of Key West.  Irma has weakened some and is currently moving west at approximately 9 miles per hour, has maximum sustained winds of 125 MPH, a Category 3 hurricane.  The minimum central pressure is 27.79″.  Hurricane Irma has recently weakened due to proximity and interaction of the storm with the mountains in Cuba.

Hurricane Warnings are in effect for all the counties in the West Central Florida Section.  A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for all the coastal counties of the West Central Florida Section.

The forecast track is basically unchanged since yesterday. Irma is expected to continue its west-northwest track going around the southern periphery of the mid Atlantic ridge of high pressure. Once it reaches the southwestern side of the high, Irma is forecast to turn northwest, then north and toward Florida in response to a trough of low pressure coming out of the continental United States heading towards Florida, which will erode the mid Atlantic high pressure ridge slightly. The center of the track is forecast to now move over the eastern part of the coastal counties on the Florida west coast instead of moving up the middle of the state or up the east coast as previously forecast.  However, Tropical Storm force winds will impact all of the peninsula with the exception of the panhandle.  Gale force and hurricane force winds could still impact the west side of the state of Florida as Irma moves northward.

Hurricane Irma Forecast Discussion: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCDAT1+shtml/061448.shtml

Hurricane Irma Graphical Forecast Track: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at1+shtml/145453.shtml?cone#contents

ACTIONS:  At this time, all West Central Florida Section have already opened shelters as of this time.  All ARES, ACS, and CERT personnel are requested to continue to closely monitor the National Hurricane Center latest advisories on Hurricane Irma and to be in communications with their respective leadership in case their assistance with communications support is needed.  All amateur radio operators should have already completed any preparedness actions at this time.  Remember you and your family safety is a primary concern.

A reminder to all ARES Emergency Coordinators:  The Section Manager and the Section Emergency Coordinator will conduct a conference call at 1700 this afternoon via GoToMeeting.  Invitations have been sent via email to your email address.  Please participate if at all possible so the Section ARES Staff can be informed of any unmet needs you have and your current status.  WCF Section ARES will hold another special session of the West Central Florida Section ARES Net tomorrow evening at 19:30 hours on the NI4CE Repeater System to assess any unmet needs of any ARES or ACS groups operating in our ten counties and collecting reports from these ten counties.  The State of Florida SARNet is currently running a coordination and assistance net to help communicate between the county EOC’s and the State EOC and to provide assistance to amateur radio operators in other ways, time permitting.

A reminder from ARRL HQ and your Section leadership is that right now the priority is tactical shelter communications, EOC Communications, and even SKYWARN Nets as Hurricane Irma approaches.  Any health and welfare inquiries should go through the American Red Cross “Safe and Well” website.  The link to the ARRL Press Release on this is http://www.arrl.org/news/hurricane-irma-amateur-radio-emergency-and-priority-traffic-is-moving-health-welfare-traffic-queued.  Also the ARRL has release a press release concerning frequency usage during the Hurricane Irma response.  The link to that ARRL press release is http://www.arrl.org/news/operating-procedures-during-hurricane-irma.

The next WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN for Hurricane Irma will be issued tomorrow at 1100 EDT, or sooner if conditions warrant.

END OF SPECIAL BULLETIN

WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN #5 – 2200 EDT – 9/08/17

SITUATION: As of 2000 EDT, Hurricane Irma was located about 315 southeast of Miami just off of the northern coast of Cuba.  Irma is currently moving west at approximately 12 miles per hour, has maximum sustained winds of 155 MPH, still making it a dangerous Category 5 hurricane. The minimum central pressure is 27.29″, which is still extremely low.

Hurricane Warnings have been in effect since this afternoon for the following West Central Florida Section Counties: Charlotte, Hardee, Highlands, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties.  Hurricane Watches are in effect for the following West Central Florida Section Counties:  Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Polk Counties.   A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for the following West Central Florida Section counties:  Sarasota, and Charlotte Counties.   Much of the Southern Florida Section is under Hurricane Warnings and the west coast counties in Southern Florida are also under a Storm Surge Watch as well.  Hurricane Watches extend all the way north up through Citrus County on the west coast and Volusia County on the east coast.

The forecast track has changed some since yesterday. Irma is expected to continue its west-northwest track going around the southern periphery of the mid Atlantic ridge of high pressure. Once it reaches the southwestern side of the high, Irma is forecast to turn northwest, then north and toward Florida in response to a trough of low pressure coming out of the continental United States heading towards Florida, which will erode the mid Atlantic high pressure ridge slightly. The center of the track is forecast to now move over the eastern part of the coastal counties on the Florida west coast instead of moving up the middle of the state or up the east coast as previously forecast.  However, Tropical Storm force winds will impact all of the peninsula with the exception of the panhandle.  Gale force and hurricane force winds could still impact the west side of the state of Florida as Irma moves northward.

Hurricane Irma Forecast Discussion: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCDAT1+shtml/061448.shtml

Hurricane Irma Graphical Forecast Track: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at1+shtml/145453.shtml?cone#contents

ACTIONS:  At this time, also all West Central Florida Section counties either have already open shelters or will open shelters on Saturday morning in advance of Hurricane Irma.  Therefore in support of these activations or planned activations, West Central Florida Section ARES will now go from a Level 2 to a Level 1 activation to provide any needed support for these activations. either current or planned. All ARES, ACS, and CERT personnel are requested to continue to closely monitor the National Hurricane Center latest advisories on Hurricane Irma and to be in communications with their respective leadership in case their assistance with communications support is needed.  All amateur radio operators should be bringing to completion any preparedness actions by Saturday morning.

The Section Manager and the Section Emergency Coordinator will conduct another special session of the West Central Florida Section ARES Net tomorrow evening at 1930 hours on the NI4CE Repeater System to assess any unmet needs of any ARES or ACS groups operating in our ten counties and collecting reports from these ten counties. If necessary, another special session of the WCF Section ARES Net will be held on the NI4CE Repeater System.  The State of Florida SARNet is currently running a coordination and assistance net to help communicate between the county EOC’s and the State EOC and to provide assistance to amateur radio operators in other ways, time permitting.

The next WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN for Hurricane Irma will be issued tomorrow at 1100 EDT, or sooner if conditions warrant.

END OF SPECIAL BULLETIN

WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN #4 – 1100 – 09/07/17

SITUATION: As of 1100 EDT, Hurricane Irma was located about 75 miles east-northeast of Pureto Plata, Dominican Republic and about 120 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island in the Bahamas. Irma is still moving west-northwest at approximately 16 miles per hour, has maximum sustained winds of 175 MPH, still making it a dangerous Category 5 hurricane. The minimum central pressure is 27.20″, which is extremely low. Hurricane Irma now holds the record as the hurricane that has held Category 5 intensity for the longest.

Hurricane Watches and a Tropical Storm Warning are in effect for much of the coastline of Cuba. Hurricane Warnings are now in effect for all of the Bahamas. New for the current advisory are the following watches: A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for the Florida peninsula from Jupiter Inlet southward and around the peninsula to Bonita Beach, including the Florida Keys. A Hurricane Watch has been issued for the Florida peninsula from Jupiter Inlet southward and around the peninsula to Bonita Beach, including the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, and Florida Bay. This includes Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Collier, Glades, and Hendry Counties.  At this time there are no watches or warnings for any counties in the West Central Florida Section but that could change sometimes soon, particularly in the inland counties.  The inland counties are the mostly likely to be impacted, with the current forecast track.

The forecast track in basically unchanged since yesterday. Irma is expected to continue its west-northwest track going around the southern periphery of the mid Atlantic ridge of high pressure. Once it reaches the southwestern side of the high, Irma is forecast to turn northwest, then north and toward Florida in response to a trough of low pressure coming out of the continental United States heading towards Florida, which will erode the mid Atlantic high pressure ridge slightly. The center of the track is forecast to move over the eastern coastline of the Florida peninsula. However, pay attention to the cone of uncertainty.  Now covers most of the state of Florida, except the panhandle.

Hurricane Irma Forecast Discussion: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCDAT1+shtml/061448.shtml

Hurricane Irma Graphical Forecast Track: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at1+shtml/145453.shtml?cone#contents

ACTIONS:  At this time, Highlands, Hillsborough and Polk Counties have either opened shelters or in the process of preparing to open shelters and the ARES groups in these counties have been asked to provide communications support for these operations. Other counties in the West Central Florida Section are considering shelter operations. Therefore in support of these activations or planned activations, West Central Florida Section ARES remains at a Level 2 activation to provide any needed support for these activations, either current or planned. All ARES, ACS, and CERT personnel are requested to continue to closely monitor the National Hurricane Center latest advisories on Hurricane Irma and to be in communications with their respective leadership in case their assistance with communications support is needed.

The Section Manager and the Section Emergency Coordinator will be participating in two conference calls this evening.  One with ARRL HQ, the other Florida, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands Section Managers and Section Emergency Coordinators, and Florida Divsion of Emergency Management.  The second call with the Section ARES Emergency Coordinators.  If necessary, another special session of the WCF Section ARES Net will be held on the NI4CE Repeater System.  There are plans being made to use SARNet for a state wide net to coordinate mutual aid and relief between various county EOC’s and the State EOC.

The next WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN for Hurricane Irma will be issued tomorrow at 1100 EDT, or sooner if conditions warrant.

END OF SPECIAL BULLETIN

WCF SPECIAL BULLETIN #3 – 1100 EDT – 9/05/17

HURRICANE IRMA – BRIEFING #1 – 1100 EDT – 9/05/17

SITUATION:  As of 1100 EDT, Hurricane Irma was located about 140 miles east of San Juan, Puerto Rico in the British and U.S. Virgin Islands. Irma is still moving west-northwest at approximately 14 miles per hour, has maximum sustained winds of 185 MPH, making it a dangerous Category 5 hurricane. The minimum central pressure is 27.11″, which is extremely low. Hurricane Watches are already in effect for much of the coastline of Cuba and the central Bahamas and Hurricane Warnings are in effect for the lower Bahamas.

Irma is expected to continue its west-northwest track going around the southern periphery of the mid Atlantic ridge of high pressure. Once it reaches the southwestern side of the high, Irma is forecast to turn northwest, then north and toward Florida in response to a trough of low pressure coming out of the continental United States heading towards Florida, which will erode the mid Atlantic high pressure ridge slightly. The two National Hurricane Center forecast tracks have shifted the forecast track of Irma east each time. Now the center of the track is forecast to move over the eastern coastline of the Florida peninsula. However, pay attention to the cone of uncertainty as it still covers much of southern and central Florida.

Hurricane Irma Forecast Discussion: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCDAT1+shtml/061448.shtml

Hurricane Irma Graphical Forecast Track: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at1+shtml/145453.shtml?cone#contents

ACTIONS:  At this time, Highlands, Hillsborough and Polk Counties have either opened shelters or in the process of preparing to open shelters and the ARES groups in these counties have been asked to provide communications support for these operations.  Other counties in the West Central Florida Section are considering shelter operations.  Therefore in support of these activations or planned activations, West Central Florida Section ARES is going to a Level 2 activation to provide any needed support for these activations, either current or planned.  All ARES, ACS, and CERT personnel are requested to continue to closely monitor the National Hurricane Center latest advisories on Hurricane Irma and to be in communications with their respective leadership in case their assistance with communications support is needed.

A special session of the ARRL West Central Florida Section ARES Net is being planned in support of Hurricane Irma.  The announcement will be publicly disseminated here on the Section website.

The next WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN for Hurricane Irma will be issued tomorrow at 1100 EDT, or sooner if conditions warrant.

 

END OF SPECIAL BULLETIN

WCF SECTION PRESS RELEASE #27

THE WCF PRESSER ISSUE #29 SEPTEMBER 2017 IS NOW PUBLISHED

The WCF PRESSER Issue #29 September 2017, has been published on the Section website, and the ARRL website. An announcement of the publication of the WCF PRESSER will be disseminated on the ARRL remailer shortly.  Please note that the WCF PRESSER is no longer disseminated on the ARRL remailer due to the expanded graphical content in the WCF PRESSER.

For the PDF version of this newsletter and past issues in PDF format go to http://arrlwcf.org/home/the-wcf-section-presser-arrl-west-central-florida-section-news/.

END OF PRESS RELEASE

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