Hurricane Delta has upgraded to a Category 4 with sustained wind speeds of up to 145mph. The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and the Meteorological Service of Belize (MET) continue to monitor the storm for any development. Earlier today NEMO issued their advisory number three stating that the impacts from Hurricane Delta are expected to be minimal. The northern districts of Belize are also expected to experience a slight increase in rain and thunderstorms. The advisory also serves as a precaution due to the proximity and direction of movement of the hurricane. Today we spoke with the Acting Chief Meteorologist, Ronald Gordon who gave us an update on the Hurricane’s development and trajectory.
Ronald Gordon, Acting Chief Meteorologist: “It was out in the Caribbean and there was a small chance for it to develop and we have been tracking the progress of the system ever since. It eventually became a potential tropical depression I believe on Saturday night and then eventually a tropical depression and storm and now we’re at a major hurricane. As many of us know it is not projected to make landfall directly on the country of Belize however we continue to monitor it because it is in close proximity to our area so we will watch this system very closely until it’s safely away from us and makes landfall over Yucatan as predicted.”
Reporter: What is the likelihood that this storm changes its trajectory for the worse and starts heading towards Belize ?
Ronald Gordon, Acting Chief Meteorologist: “That is not impossible but very very unlikely. The chance of that happening is almost near zero. We are pretty confident that the system will move along the projected path of most of the models that we look at and when those models are in good agreement it gives us more confidence this track will be maintained. Another factor is the storm is moving at a relatively fast speed currently west northwest at sixteen miles per hour so it has definite and strong steering currents, it’s not in the area where you have uncertainty with the currents steering it and so there’s strong steering currents taking it towards the west northwest and eventually northwest to make landfall like I said over the north eastern Yucatan peninsula near Cancun.”
Today the Weather Channel posted on their Facebook page that 30 mins after they posted that the hurricane was a category 3 the Hurricane had quickly escalated to a category 4. According to Gordon this type of development is common especially near Belizean waters.
Ronald Gordon, Acting Chief Meteorologist: “It does occur. It is not very frequent but it does occur because that rapid intensification and unfortunately for us here in Belize the waters just off our area in the north west Caribbean sea are areas that are very prone to rapid intensification. So we had seen it happen before I could recall for example Hurricane Keith in 2000 which underwent intensification from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane in less than twenty four hours so that is not something that is not unusual for our area it does occur from time to time and one of the things about it is that the forecast models are not very good at picking up rapid intensification however what we look at is climatology and the location. So we were looking at the possibility of rapid intensification with this storm but as I mentioned the models do not that forecast to well. I just want to remind folks to remain vigilant, to monitor this system along with us, keep updated on what we are giving out. NEMO has issued several precautions mainly as a precaution and mainly to let residents know that there is something out there, it is not coming our way however we will monitor it until it is our of area safely. Again we are expecting minimal impacts from this system but if you are in flood prone areas in the north you should be on the lookout for the small chance that you could have some flooding and if you are a fisherman I would advise you not to venture out into the sea until at least later tomorrow when those winds are likely to subside or better yet until we lift the small craft warning that we have at the moment.”
In the NEMO advisory they stated quote “All must be prepared, just in case, to quickly put your Hurricane plan in place. Be reminded we are, historically, in the worst month of the Hurricane Season. NEMO City and District Emergency Committees will convene their second emergency meeting this afternoon. Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) countrywide will be on a 24 hours watch to closely monitor Hurricane Delta and to plan for the worse as we continue to hope for the best. We must maintain our guard and our vigilance.” end of quote.