Preliminary Phase Flag Raised: Northern Belize Braces for Hurricane Beryl’s Potential Impact

Preliminary Phase Flag Raised: Northern Belize Braces for Hurricane Beryl’s Potential Impact

The first hurricane flag was hoisted this afternoon after the government gave the nod to issue a preliminary phase warning under the National Hurricane Response Plan.  Tonight, residents, primarily in the Belize, Orange Walk and Corozal Districts are bracing for the potential impacts of Hurricane Beryl.  With the flag now hoisted, this means that within the next 72 hours the incoming storm should begin shedding its effects on the country.  Authorities are closely monitoring the storm as it travels into the western Caribbean with a possible landfall anywhere from northern Belize to the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico late Thursday night. At this hour, there is a tropical storm watch declared for Belize City to Corozal, including San Pedro and Caye Caulker. One thing that the emergency officials are stressing is for residents not to go into panic mode.  They are advising that everyone prepare and be vigilant. In this afternoon’s edition, Chief Meteorologist Ronald Gordon explained that the storm was still a distance away from Belize.

Ronald Gordon, Chief Meteorologist, National Met Service: “We are confident enough in the forecast at this point that we made the declaration, like I said, we have been communicating with the National Hurricane Center in Miami Florida with the experts there, the hurricane experts. We have shared what we are seeing and based on our mutual discussion, we believe that the system will make landfall north of the country. We do know that the system is not a point. Therefore, as I have always emphasized to media houses, please don’t try to get me into forcing me to say where exactly it will cross the shoreline. There are impacts beyond that point. Therefore, even if it makes landfall where it is projected to do, we do know that the hurricane force winds and the tropical storm force winds extend farther away from that particular center. And based on that information then we certainly, I communicate with Mr. Mendez. And of course, we communicated with the prime minister and we were approved to declare a Tropical Storm Watch for the country, like I said before, from Belize City northward to the Corozal to the Mexico-Bulize border including of course the islands. So certainly within the forecasting space there’s always, we never say zero probability of anything. So nothing will be at zero chance. There is a chance that it actually comes in a bit stronger than is being forecast. It’s currently forecasted to be a category one and it is possible that it may come in a category two, and the worst case possibly even a three. So there’s always that possibility but we do notice that the trend is there. It’s following the forecast trend. We see the weakening starting, and that’s certainly good news for all of us in the region.”

National Emergency Coordinator Daniel Mendez reiterated that the flag is merely a first warning and that there is still time to prepare.  As it relates to NEMO’s mandate, Mendez assured the media that all hands are on deck across the country.

Another press conference will be held tomorrow morning at seven thirty, and can be heard on Love FM and viewed on Love Television.

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