Atlantic Hurricane Season 2023 Comes to a Close: Belize Spared Devastation
June to November is the time of the year marked for the Atlantic Hurricane season. With today being the last day in November, we can safely say that the 2023 hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin is closed. Looking back at the last six months, we can see that the storm activity for the season was within expected ranges. Fortunately, for Belize, the country was spared hurricane devastation this year. Chief Met Officer at the National Meteorological Service, Ronald Gordon, gave us a breakdown of how this year’s hurricane season went.
Ronald Gordon, Chief Meteorologist, National Meteorological Service: “It was an above normal season in terms of the total number of named storms or that is storms that reached tropical storm status and above, we had twenty one of those and of those twenty one twenty actually got names because the first one that formed was in January and at the time it wasn’t labeled as named storm but after some revision that system was upgraded to a named storm but even though it did not acquire a specific name. Of the twenty one systems that became tropical storms above seven became hurricanes and three became major hurricanes. So from the perspective of tropical storms and above it was an above normal season because the normal is typically fourteen but in terms of hurricanes the average is seven and this year we got seven so it was an average season hurricane wise and similarly in terms of major hurricanes the average is for three and we had three major hurricanes. From a local perspective it was not a very active season, we did not have any significant threat from a tropical cyclone. The country fortunately did not have to go into a hurricane watch or warning this particular season. We had one low pressure system at the beginning of November that was being monitored. It eventually made landfall in Nicaragua but did not become a tropical cyclone. However that system did produce significant rainfall over the country and perhaps that’s the most significant feature affecting us this particular hurricane season. Even though November 30 marks the end of hurricane season the rainy season per se does not actually finish or the dry season does not start on the first of December. We have a transition period between November 30 and about the middle of February that we get rainfall events typically due to frontal intrusion so sometimes these cold fronts like what happened yesterday stall over the area and produce an amount of rainfall. So we’re not in the dry season as yet and we can expect that there may be another episode like we saw yesterday.”
On November 2, 2022, Belize was hit by Category One Hurricane Lisa. The storm was devastating to Belize City; so much so, that many are still picking up the pieces and rebuilding. According to Mayor Bernard Wager, gratitude is a must when we look at how the country has been spared. He also shared his thoughts on the season passed.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “God is good. He’s very good and he’s good all the time and the mere fact that he understood what we went through last year around this time we were still grappling with cleaning up part of that disaster and this year we were spared and so we have to be thankful and we have to take the opportunity as a city and as country to really take stock of how blessed we are as a nation and how blessed we are as a city and as a community and so we have to always be able to harness those blessings and welcome those blessings because you know if after a while you don’t accept those blessings and harness it it is taken away from you and so the close of the Hurricane Season with the type of weather patterns that have been developing we’re still not out of the woods in my view. We will still be having the occasional down pouring of torrential rains that is a part of the new weather patterns in Belize City. Growing up in Belize City as a young child I could always recall that in the months of November, December, January, February you have that cool month and it will be that cool dry type of weather. We haven’t been receiving those types of many many years and so that is why I am such an avid advocate in respect to the impact of climate change.”
During cleanup efforts following Hurricane Lisa, over sixty thousand pounds of debris was cleared out of Belize City