NEMO says Belize is at risk of being hit by a hurricane
Tonight, the National Meteorological Service of Belize and the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) say there is a possibility for a hurricane to make landfall in Belize next week. Today, NEMO issued its first advisory on tropical cyclone 13 which is moving westward in the Caribbean Sea, just north of Venezuela. The system is expected to intensify into a hurricane within the next 96 hours and will likely land in Nicaragua and Honduras. The system is expected to bring heavy rainfall and flooding, especially in southern Belize. According to National Coordinator, Retired Lieutenant Colonel, Shelton Defour, NEMO isn’t taking any chances and is advising the public to begin making emergency plans as early as possible.
Ret’d Lt. Col. Shelton Defour, National Coordinator, NEMO: “We felt it quite necessary in terms of precaution to give the general public as much lead time as possible. This time of the year is a major concern for NENO. Evacuation is one of the big challenges in terms of moving tens of thousands of people from along the coastline to get them into higher ground due to a major threat such as a category 3, 4, 5 hurricane so we want people to bear in mind as we monitor TC #13 which is likely to become Tropical Storm Julia hopefully not Hurricane Julia but the forecast is for it to become a hurricane before it makes landfall if it continues on that path to Nicaragua. Once that system gets out to open waters that is when we have to be very poised and ready to go into whether it’s an evacuation operation and sheltering or for the vulnerable communities because of the level of threat maybe it’ll be only a CAT One and it happens quickly then we will say to the emergency coordinators across the country shelter in place you know? This is the reason why we have to send out the alert from this time or the advisory because we don’t know what we will be facing tomorrow and what we’ll be facing on Saturday and we cannot react late it’s better for the er on the side of caution, to do this and scale down rather than trying to scale up mid-weekend, long weekend everybody is out you know having fun traveling and try to stop them from that type of activity to transition into emergency that would be too challenging for the country and for the system that we have in Belize.”
According to Defour, tropical cyclone 13 is expected to bring six inches of rainfall to Belize on Monday based on its current trajectory. He says NEMO is advising persons living in low-lying and flood-prone areas to seek shelter on higher grounds.