HAMNET Report 6th August 2023

By last Sunday the milder warnings for Tropical Cyclone KHANUN, threatening to affect the southern tip of Japan, and the Japanese Islands, had been upgraded to a level RED warning. The uncertainty cone of danger seemed to be leaving most of mainland Japan unscathed, but GDACS reported that it was moving north-west over the Okinawa Islands. On Tuesday, its centre was located over the sea approximately 630 km south-east of the south-eastern coast of Okinawa Island, southern Japan, with maximum sustained winds of 194 km/h.

KHANUN was forecast to continue north-west strengthening and possibly crossing the southern Ryukyu Islands on 1-2 August bringing heavy rain, strong winds and storm surges as well as heavy rainfall with thunderstorms, strong winds and high gusts, and storm surge forecast, particularly over Okinawa Island which continues to be under a level RED warning.

On Friday, the Okinawa Island Fire and Disaster Management Agency reported 41 injured people in Okinawa and Kagoshima Prefectures. 198,000 people were still under evacuation orders in Okinawa prefecture. Power disruptions affected 200,000 homes, and only emergency cases were being treated at hospitals that had lost power.

KHANUN was forecast to change its direction turning north-east at the weekend. It would then cross the Tokunoshima and the Amami Islands on 6-7 August with maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h. Uncertainty about the trajectory and intensity projections persist, but heavy rain is expected to continue until 6 August in Okinawa and Amami, and the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau has issued yellow heavy rain and high wind advisories. 

Meanwhile, Beijing and nearby cities in China stepped up rescue and recovery work on Tuesday after rains and widespread flooding brought by remnants of Typhoon DOKSURI disrupted utility services and food supplies and claimed at least 20 lives.

Beijing’s Fangshan district said it would deploy helicopters to drop off food, drinking water and emergency supplies to villages in mountainous areas that have been cut off. In nearby Tianjin, where rain has become intermittent, 35,000 people have been evacuated from homes and the local government fortified river banks and stepped up the inspection and repairs of power, water and communications lines.

The death toll in Beijing rose to 11 on Tuesday with 13 people still missing, while in neighbouring Hebei province, nine people died and six were missing.

President Xi Jinping demanded thorough search and rescue efforts for those missing or trapped, instructing authorities to minimize casualties and restore living conditions to normal as soon as possible, state media reported. The finance ministry also announced it would allocate 110 million yuan ($15 million) for rescue work in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

DOKSURI, one of the strongest storms to hit China in years, weakened as it rolled inland and dumped non-stop precipitation in northern cities over a few days. Authorities have warned that risks of further floods and other geological disasters remained.

In a press release from the Government of Virgin islands, we read that eighty-three public officers and others have completed training in very high frequency (VHF) radiotelephone usage as part of the Department of Disaster Management’s ongoing training series.

Participants learned about radio communications technology; safety equipment; land mobile radio operation; practices for use during emergencies; as well as day-to-day operations. Once participants passed an exam, they also received a certificate to document their successful completion of the course.

DDM Training Manager Carishma Hicks said that interest in the use of VHF radio has risen in recent years for a variety of purposes.

“We saw a spike in interest after the impacts that took place in 2017 and it has not diminished since,” she said, adding that she was pleased to be able to bring a course to residents on Virgin Gorda as part of the most recent series.

“It can be challenging for sister islands residents to take advantage of these courses, so we were very happy to collaborate with the Sister Islands Programme to bring the course to Virgin Gorda,” Ms. Hicks added.

VHF radios are a key component of the Territory’s emergency communications system, as they can be used in the event that landline or mobile communications fail. The Virgin Islands VHF network is supported by four repeater sites located in Chalwell on Tortola, North Sound on Virgin Gorda, Peter Island and Jost Van Dyke.

The VHF radio course is offered at no charge and includes instruction on: radio theory; line of sight communications; common radio terms; regulations/licensing requirements; types of VHF radio equipment; radio procedures; transmitting and receiving; the phonetic alphabet and emergency radio communications.

Energyportal.eu reported on Thursday that a significant solar eruption recently struck Earth, the moon, and Mars simultaneously, marking an unprecedented event in history. The eruption occurred on August 2, 2023, and had far-reaching effects across the celestial bodies.

The eruption unleashed a powerful burst of solar particles, known as a solar flare. These particles travel at high speeds and are capable of causing disruptions in various electronic systems, such as satellites and power grids.

The impact on Earth was particularly notable, resulting in disruptions to radio communications and causing stunning auroras to appear in the sky. Auroras occur when the charged particles from the Sun interact with Earth’s magnetic field.

Interestingly, the solar eruption also affected the moon and Mars. While the moon does not have a substantial atmosphere or magnetosphere, the particles from the flare still had an impact. On Mars, which has a thin atmosphere and a weak magnetosphere, the effects were likely more pronounced.

The simultaneous impact of the solar eruption on these three celestial bodies provided scientists with a unique opportunity to study the effects of such events in different environments. By analysing the data gathered from Earth, the moon, and Mars, researchers can gain valuable insights into the behaviour of solar flares and their impact on various planetary bodies.

There is just enough space left at the end of this bulletin of news to remind you that I welcome any news of useful communications in your area that might have aided persons in distress, or facilitated sporting events. Forthcoming attractions can also be mentioned, and any activity that used radio comms, such as animal tracking or direction finding, will also be welcome. Please send them to zs1dfr@gmail.com          Thank you.

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.