Relay stations in the North Texas Section are now actively RESPONDING to Hurricane Laura, including monitoring traffic and hurricane nets, and operating extended net hours to relay storm-related traffic.
As the National Traffic System is an emergency communications resource and a component of the North Texas Section ARES Incident Radio Communication Plan, traffic handlers in the Section should refrain from originating non-storm related traffic until after the hurricane has weakened and storm-related traffic winds down. Even if we are not seeing storm-related traffic at a particular moment, the potential for storm-related traffic must be kept in mind as it may come in at a moment’s notice, and while traffic is categorized as emergency, priority, welfare, or routine and this precedence dictates the order things are relayed in, minimizing routine traffic allows for better focus on other traffic categories.
I also ask that stations outside of the Texas/Louisiana area hold off on originating traffic headed to this region so that area and regional HF traffic nets serving Texas and Louisiana can focus on storm-related traffic coming out of affected areas.
You may hear stations relaying storm-related traffic originating from areas affected by Hurricane Laura. Please treat these communications with your highest regard, especially if they are EMERGENCY traffic.
In my NTS trainings I mention that once the disaster begins the time to prepare ends. If you have not practiced traffic handling before, please know that while I appreciate your willingness to help, please allow our expert traffic handlers to manage relaying storm-related traffic, and consider attending an NTS training session and participating in traffic nets after the hurricane has dissipated so that you can build your skillset ahead of the next incident.
Per the Hurricane Laura Public Advisory from the National Hurricane Center, updated at 1:00 am Central Daylight Time (0600 UTC), Hurricane Laura should approach the Upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coasts on Wednesday evening and move inland near those areas Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
Data from an Air Force Reserve Unit reconnaissance aircraft found that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 105 miles per hour with higher gusts. Laura is expected to strengthen significantly during the next 24 hours, making landfall as a major hurricane with 110+ MPH winds, and then weakening rapidly afterwards.
Once this weakening occurs and storm-related traffic winds down (which may or may not be close timewise), the traffic system status for the Section will change to STANDDOWN, indicating that the incident is concluding and we can resume normal traffic relaying, before returning to Normal Operation for day-to-day traffic relaying and continuous practice.
I will continue to update the Dashboard as this progresses.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Aaron | K8AMH