While Hurricane Laura spared Hunt County and the surrounding area even a glancing blow as it passed through portions of Texas and Louisiana Thursday, local amateur radio operators were keeping an eye on its path to see if they could help relay information from the affected areas.
And while no severe weather connected to the storm was reported locally, Greenville received a drenching rainfall Wednesday night which likely helped relieve severe drought conditions.
Laura made landfall along the south Louisiana Gulf Coast late Wednesday night as a devastating Category 4 hurricane, bringing reports of heavy flooding and damaging winds.
Information from the affected areas was hard to come by according to Jim Davenport with the Sabine Valley Amateur Radio Association, which had been tracking developments by contacting other ham radio operators in the region.
“We have been monitoring several of the Emergency Radio networks, and there have been very few reports coming over the radios,” Davenport said early Thursday afternoon. “We have heard very few stations reporting in from the affected areas, and those that we have heard from so far have reported electrical power outages and downed trees. We have been linking the state-wide EOC to EOC radio network into our local networks to assist our local Emergency Management agencies to keep track of the developing situation.”
Members of the SVARA participate in the annual nationwide emergency communications exercise known as the Amateur Radio Relay League Field Day. During one weekend in June, amateur radio operators practice their emergency communications procedures and are called upon to set up under simulated disaster conditions, then attempt to make as many contacts across the United States and around the globe as possible.
Although Hunt County was never under any weather watches or warnings because of Laura, it did receive a substantial soaking because of two systems that crossed North Texas in advance of the hurricane.
Majors Field, the city of Greenville Municipal Airport, received fifteen-hundredths of an inch of rain between 4:10 and 4:50 p.m. Wednesday, with an extended drenching of 2.86 inches of precipitation recorded between 7:50 and 10:50 p.m. Wednesday.
There was still a chance of some rain in the forecast Thursday night and into this morning, although the National Weather Service was calling for a return to triple-digit high temperatures for this afternoon and Saturday.