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Flood warnings for OW and Corozal still in place; flood watch in effect nationwide!

Also tonight, the National Hydrological Service has placed the urban areas of the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts under a flood warning. This means that the northernmost towns and their surrounds are under a warning and a flood watch for the entire country is also in effect. Levels are above normal and increasing on the Rio Hondo and downstream at the villages of Santa Cruz, San Antonio, San Roman and Douglas. The New River at Tower Hill is near flood stage and increasing and at Caledonia, levels are above normal and increasing. Principal Hydrologist, Tennielle Hendy discussed the issue with our newsroom today. 

Teneille Hendy, Principal Hydrologist: “Usually, your rivers are your runoff catchment. When these systems are not at flood stage we tend to say we are still in a good position because the water has somewhere to run off to. What we are seeing with the forecasts is that these water systems are rising. These water systems are rising. These river systems are rising so they are being filled up. If the rain continues as is or with an increase, we might start to see flood waters become resident in some of these areas. You know if flood waters with the rainfall and then the runoff, it’s fine. It’s kind of tolerable but when we start to talk about residents’ time and waiting for these systems to go down, that is a whole other ball game. You’re there out of your homes. You know you can’t access, you’re worrying about your personal effects. So if the rain continues like this, we could be looking at those kinds of conditions.”

Dale McDougall, Love FM News: So the most important thing for the rest of the week is pretty much advice that you had given last week for those communities that live in those low lying areas. Correct? 

Teneille Hendy, Principal Hydrologist: “Right. To remain vigilant, look at the water levels in your areas. A forecast is a forecast. We can have so many inches of rain forecasted but I might have 10 inches but I receive 12 or 15 or I receive less. So depending on the intensity of that rainfall event and the duration along with the intensity of that event is really what determines the severity of a flood and what types of floods do we experience. The events over the weekend were based on excessive rainfall, primarily, it’s in conjunction with other environmental conditions. I mean, if you don’t have the proper drainage, if they’re blocked. You have changing land use, you know land conversion and all of these factors cumulatively impact flooding and it impacts the severity that it has.” 

The flood forecast has also indicated an increase in levels in most waterways in the central and southern parts of Belize including the Belize River at Double Run, the Sibun River, the Sittee River at Kendal, the Temash near Crique Sarco and the Sarstoon.