[VWS] Jamaica Sitrep

Iain McFadyen mcfadyenusa at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 21 09:30:04 CDT 2007

Sorry guys:

Ki4HLV/6Y5 checking in!

We (FLOW Jamaica) had international and domestic telecommunications constantly
through the storm. Cable & Wireless and Digicel lost portions of their
cellular networks, and they both still have frequent congestion here in
Kingston, especially this morning as people slowly return to their workplaces.

FLOW basically had the streets to ourselves yesterday. Only utilities and
emergency services out on the streets, so we managed to get a lot done.

We have some damage to the FLOW fibre backbone across the country, but we've
repaired sufficient to get the working paths up, and the protect paths will be
up by midday tomorrow.

Many residential customers are down, primarily because of tree damage to the
dropwires. Again, we've already driven all of our cable routes, and have a
tactical plan in place to resolve issues. 

All our active equipment has power supply available, however these beauties
run on propane tanks, which means we have to replace them every 17-24 hours.
That one task is taking up more resources than anticipated.

As far as home (the apartment) is concerned, we lost 100 roof tiles, however
these are not structural: The building is flat-roofed, but has this angled
tiled parapet around it, and many of the cosmetic tiles flew off. No water
damage in the apartment, some massive trees down in the compound though. But
the trees and all the tiles missed the cars parked in the parking lot below!

The damage is likely to be worse to the Western end of the island. I have not
received many reports from anywhere West of Kingston. I'll get a chance to
read the paper later today.

Utility power to the WHOLE island is shut down right now. The utility company
will start energising portions before the end of the week. (Update: I just
heard that half of Montego Bay is powered up as of 9am today).

I'm getting used to cold showers again. Ugh! And have moved all the
perishables from the fridge, to a shared fridge at the office which has power
for 16 hours a day.

Estimates from people around Kingston who have weather stations vary wildly,
but seems to be 7-10 inches of rain between midday Sunday and 11pm Sunday. A
gust of 130mph was recorded at the Norman Manley airport, which is in the
Southernmost area of Kingston, on an archipelago which juts out into the
ocean, and is extremely exposed, and one of the closest landmasses to the
Hurricane's path.

We are all just fortunate and thankful that the eye stayed offshore.

Sorry for not updating you earlier. Work got in the way of other commitments.

Just one Ham Radio related story:
The Amateur Radio station at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency
Management EOC, was tested fully on Saturday. Then on Sunday, the morning
before the storm, someone decided to cut back the trees which overhang the EOC
building. Unfortunately, an overzealous tree trimmer managed to hack both the
Heliax to the 12 element HF log periodic and the rotor control cable, just
hours before the winds got too strong to allow anyone on the roof to fix it.
So the Jamaican ODPEM EOC was unable to communicate with the Hurricane Watch
net on 14.325 MHz. Bad timing.

Our VHF and UHF repeater network stayed in service throughout the storm, and
is still working now, however there are virtually no Licensed Radio Amateurs
in the South West section of the island. 

Best wishes,

Iain   KI4HLV/6Y5
--- Daniel Sullivan <djs13 at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Here is an excerpt from a larger regional Situation Report I got from a 
> public site. I am guessing Iain probably came through OK since the storm 
> jogged a bit south.

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