All Eyes on the Developing Weather System

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Updated: August 1, 2016

All eyes are on an approaching weather system in the Caribbean. NEMO has been watching the system and issuing advisories to the public since yesterday. Love News spoke a short while ago with Chief Meteorologist Dennis Gonguez who shared the latest information.

DENNIS GONGUEZ

“The system has not developed into a tropical storm as yet, it is quite likely to develop to a tropical depression or tropical storm within the next six to twelve hours and it continues to move westward at about 20-25 miles per hour. On that track and speed we should start feeling some effects come Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. All indications are that is is heading basically in this general direction.”

Reporter: You mentioned that by tomorrow we should start feeling some of the effects which would be the areas that would need to be on alert at this time?

DENNIS GONGUEZ

Well at this time it’s the entire coastline because the system has not formed a depression nor a cyclone as yet we do not have a central location to actually track and say which part of the country it’s most like to impact. The entire coastline should be concerned at this time.

Reporter: If it arrives as a tropical storm more than likely you’re saying when it hits us what is it we will be looking at?

DENNIS GONGUEZ

Most of the forecast for this system has it around 50-60 miles an hour winds at landfall however we have less confidence in the intensity forecast than we have in the track forecast. We are thinking about between 50-60.

Reporter: So at this time what would be your advice to Belizean?

DENNIS GONGUEZ

We should have been paying close attention from NEMO started to issue the advisory yesterday and now it’s becoming more crucial that we listen to the advisories as they are issued and try to be prepared for the approach of this system. We need to pay attention to the NEMO advisory because even if the system does not reach us at the estimated wind speeds that are mentioned we still have a lot of rains that are associated with the systems, we’re looking at between 4-6 inches so even if we don’t get the winds we have to be concerned about the rains.

Reporter: Looking at it right now do you expect it to slow down, continue at the same pace what are your projections?

DENNIS GONGUEZ

It looks as if it will continue at the same pace at about 20-25 miles per hour. For us that is good in terms of the development of the system in that if it slows down it’s more likely to intensify since it will spend a longer time over the warm waters so the rapid westward motion of the system is beneficially if it is not conducive to rapid intensification. We would not expect a stronger system if it continues at that present speed.

Earlier today, Councilor Philip Willoughby led a team on a tour of one of the vulnerable areas while five shelters are being prepared in Belize City. In it’s latest advisory NEMO says evacuation planning is in place to receive people from the cayes. The National Executive Committee will meet tomorrow morning to review the situation and decide if there is a need for an evacuation. Residents of flood prone areas are strongly advised to move early. NEMO is activated nationwide and will be providing timely updates.