A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE COAST OF BELIZE
NEMO hereby informs that at 9:00am Tropical Storm Earl was centered near Latitude 16.3°N, Longitude 84.4°W or about 189 miles east-southeast of Half Moon Caye, 231 miles east-southeast of San Pedro Ambergris Caye, 230 miles east of Dangriga, 236 miles east-southeast of Belize City,271 miles east-southeast of Corozal Town, and 267 miles east of Punta Gorda Town.
Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast and Earl is likely to become a hurricane before it makes landfall. Earl is moving westward near 14 mph and some decrease in forward speed is expected during the next 48 hours. On this track, Earl will MAKE landfall in Belize tonight or early Thursday morning. Earl will produce rainfall accumulation of 8-12 inches over Belize with possible higher amounts. These rains could cause flash floods and mud slides especially over higher terrain. For coastal areas, there is also a risk for flooding, especially in low lying areas.
NEMO is at Phase 3 – two red flags with black centers flown above each other, this means that Hurricane conditions are expected over Belize within 24 hours. We will experience strong winds blowing as fast as 70 or more miles or per hour, heavy rainfall; storm surge; flooding along the coastline; trees blown down; weak house and structures will be damaged or destroyed; loose objects will become projectiles, power outages and disruption to water. As the system approaches expect light winds, then heavy hurricane like winds, thereafter there will be a calm as the eye passes; thereafter we will experience very strong winds then the winds will get weaker and eventually die off.
The predicted path/impact areas are south of Belize City (southside Belize City) and north of Dangriga. It will move over Half moon caye; Long Caye; Middle Caye; Long Caye Turneffe; Gales Point; Mullins River; Silk Grass, Hope Creek, communities along the Hummingbird Highway, Pomona, the peninsula, La Democracia; Cotton Tree; More Tomorrow, St. Matthews; Franks Eddy; Valley of Peace Hattieville; Belize City; Belize river Valley; Ladyville; Lord’s Bank; Burrell Boom; Willows Bank; Rancho Dolores; Isabella Bank; Double Head Cabbage; Belmopan; communities along the George Price Highway , Spanish Lookout; Bullet Tree Falls. Shelters as required will be opened in those communities. Detail list to follow.
Sequence of expected approach for Tropical Storm Earl are as follows: the outer atolls will be approached at about 7:00 p.m. San Pedro, Caye Caulker and Belize City will experience it at about
9-11:00 p.m. with about 40 mph wind. At midnight we will begin to experience Hurricane force winds. By 1:00 a.m. hurricane force winds will be over Dangriga and Belize City, the centre of the storm will be over Belmopan area by 4:00 a.m. The Cayo District (western areas) will be affected at 6:00 a.m. and at 7:00 a.m. the western border will be affected. By 9:00 a.m. the winds should die off.
- Government closed normal business operations at 10:00 a.m.
- San Pedro Belize Express last run is at 11:30 am. No Chetumal run is scheduled.
- Civil aviation closes at 2:00 p.m. today the last international flight is at 12:15 p.m., Municipal last flights are at 12:00 and 2:00 p.m.
- The last buses will leave from the north, west and south at midday and from Belize City to the north, west and south at 4p.m. Urgent /emergency last minute runs must be cleared with NEMO operations officer.
- Port Closures: Fort St Tourism Village is closed; molasses and sugar vessels closed down and moved to safe waters; Port of Belize is closed; Port of Big Creek is closed; Puma energy is closed. San Pedro and PG port are closed.
- Mullins River and Gales Point will be evacuated this afternoon. Punta Negra has been evacuated yesterday.
- Price gouging will not be tolerated.
- Labour Matters: All employers are hereby advised that they are to comply with the directive (s) from NEMO regarding employees safety. In the circumstance an employee has the right to seek safety. Any employer who prevents and employee from leaving, commits an offense under the provisions of the Labour Amendment Act #3 of 2011.
- Communications equipment, i.e. masts and antennae must be protected before landfall.
Actions to be carried out by the public.
- Listen to the advisories. Stay alert, take action. Make sure your emergency plan is in place. Stock up on food, water, medication and shutter your home, SECURE YOUR ROOF, WINDOWS AND DOORS.
- As of 4 p.m. today you are very strongly advised to stay indoors and weather the storm. Seek shelter, move to higher ground away from the coast and low-lying areas. People in Bungalow, ground floor level building will experience flooding.
- All are advised to pay keen attention and take the necessary actions to save life.
- People who have livestock in low lying areas that are flood prone should move them to higher ground.
- Parents are hereby urged to keep their children and family members who are on vacation safe.
- If you live in a flood prone area and along the coast and your home is not safe you are strongly advised to move early to a shelter in your area. If you are going to shelter, know which shelter you will go to and how you will get there. Take along your food, water, medications, and personal hygiene items so you can survive and weather the storm for a few days.
- Farmers in flood prone areas who have crops out in the fields that are close to harvesting should take action.
- Mariners especially small craft must seek safe harbour /stay in port.
NEMO urges all to protect their life. Listen to your local radio and television for further advisories from NEMO and the National Met Service.