• William Feist

SATERN Monitors "Potentially Catastrophic" Hurricane Patricia

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has listed Hurricane Patricia as a "potentially catastrophic" Category 5 hurricane located in the Eastern Pacific with maximum sustained winds of 200 mph and stronger wind gusts.  The barometric pressure was last measured at 880 mb. 

Hurricane Patricia is currently the strongest hurricane ever recorded by the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Patricia is forecast to make landfall as a Category 5 hurricane with continued sustained winds of 200 mph or more in the late afternoon or evening on Friday, 23 October 2015 somewhere along the western coast of south-central Mexico.  Hurricane force winds extend outward 30 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward some 175 miles from the center.

Rainfall amounts will average 8 to 12 inches with isolated local amounts of as much as 20 inches possible.  These rains will last through Saturday and create the potential for devastating flash floods and mud slides.

In addition, the moisture from Hurricane Patricia will extend into parts of the United States from Sunday through as long as Wednesday affecting Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.  Parts of Texas may receive as much as 6 to 12 inches of rain while parts of Oklahoma and Louisiana may receive 2 to 4 inches of rain.  Again, there is the potential for moderate flash and river flooding in these three states as a result.

Officials for The Salvation Army and the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN)  in the United States are monitoring the situation.  There are no current plans to upgrade SATERN's status from DELTA I (normal operations) for today (October 23).  That may or may not change after Hurricane Patricia makes landfall.  SATERN operators can watch for additional announcements on the National EDS website at Disaster.SalvationArmyUSA.org, on www.SATERN.org , on the Southern Territory SATERN Yahoo! group and on the International SATERN SSB Net on 14.265 MHz at 1500 Z tomorrow, Saturday, 24 October.

Leadership for SATERN has been in contact with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) and U.S. Army Military Auxiliary Radio System (U.S. Army MARS).

The ARRL  reports that an emergency net has been established in Mexico on 7.060 MHz based in Manzanillo in the Mexican state of Colima.  According to Zian Aguirre, XE1ATZ, the emergency net will also be using 14,120 and 21,120 kHz, and he asked the Amateur Radio community to keep all three frequencies clear for emergency traffic. States of emergency are in effect for three Mexican states.

In addition, the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 2 Area C Emergency Coordinator Arnie Coro, CO2KK, has alerted emergency coordinators within Amateur Radio range of Mexico that Hurricane Patricia is packing winds of up to 200 MPH. “Preparations to deal with the huge storm should be completed by now,” he said. “I expect Mexican radio amateurs to be operating in the area of 40 meters used for emergency traffic. Please be on the alert in the frequency range between 7050 and 7100 kHz for possible emergency related traffic from Mexico.”

ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, says that the ARRL has been in contact with the FMRE (the national amateur radio organization for Mexico).  The ARRL will work through the IARU if assistance is requested.

As of 8:30 AM, (CT), Friday, 23 October 2015, .Net Manager for the Hurricane Watch Net, Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, reports that the Hurricane Watch Net had no plans to activate for Hurricane Patricia at this time. 

Paul English, WD8DBY, U.S. Army MARS Program Manager reports that U.S. Army MARS has not been activated for this event.

Questions about SATERN's response to Hurricane Patricia can be addressed to Southern Territory SATERN Coordinator Bill Feist, WB8BZH, at Bill.Feist@USS.SalvationArmy.org.

Do not send offers to deploy or offers to send supplies, equipment or personnel to Mexico on behalf of SATERN or The Salvation Army.  All communications will be made through official Salvation Army channels and notification of any needs for personnel or supplies will be communicated as needed. 

The Salvation Army asks that all SATERN operators continue to pray for those being impacted by Hurricane Patricia.