Belize Gears Up for Hurricane Season, Fourteen Storms Predicted
Fourteen named storms – that is what is predicted for this hurricane season. Today, June 1, marks the official opening of the season for the Atlantic Basin. With Belize being prone to experience hurricanes, due to its geographic location, the country is also vulnerable to flooding and flash floods. This is why preparation is important as well as the collaboration of multiple agencies. Just yesterday, the Belize City Council hosted a symposium with the collaborating agencies, to dissect the experiences from Hurricane Lisa in 2021, and to present the lessons learnt, and updated action plans. For the next six months, Love News learnt that Belize’s National MET Service will rely on international centers for hurricane information. According to the Deputy Chief MET Officer, Michelle Augustine, they are prepared in terms of human resources, equipment and networks.
Michelle Augustine, Deputy Chief Meteorologist: “So the major agencies that are putting out these predictions are the Tropical Storm Risk agency, the Colorado State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and they are all going for approximately 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.”
Reporter: Now let’s talk in terms of our preparedness and our and while we are guided by their predictions how prepared are we in terms of our equipment at the national met service in terms of human resources at the national met service?
Michelle Augustine, Deputy Chief Meteorologist: “Well we are well prepared. Last year if I could start with last year our hurricane radar actually withstood the brunt of Hurricane Lisa making landfall so directly close or so very close to the International Airport where we are located so the radar has been functioning since then and continues to function without limited or no interruptions since then. So we are ready in terms of our radar. Our satellite imagery we still use those to forecast and to monitor storms. We have a full suite of forecasters who are capable and we actually have another forecaster who is scheduled to come on board in July which is just in time for the peak of the hurricane season.”
As it relates to the hurricane shelters across the country, Melony Dawson, of the City Emergency Management Organization (CEMO), the assessments have been successfully concluded. When it comes to evacuation, Dawson noted that no one can be forced to evacuate, but they do try to encourage it when necessary.
Later in this newscast, we’ll hear from several agencies on their preparedness for this hurricane season. We’ll also hear about the severe heat in recent weeks, and a predicted drought.