The official hurricane season runs through the months of June through November. Tuesday November 30th marked the last day of the Hurricane season for the year 2010. The past Hurricane Season saw the country facing three major scares.
Hurricane season 2010 started on June 1st and promised to be one of the most active in recent years. With twenty one names listed: Alex, Bonnie, Collin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Igor, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Matthew, Nicole, Otto, Paula, Richard, Sharry, Thomas, Virginie and Walter, hurricane season 2010 was well underway. Twelve of those named storms became hurricanes and of those twelve, five were intense hurricanes; major hurricanes categories three four or five. For us here in Belize, the threats didn’t start until late June.
On June 26th at about six pm, tropical storm Alex, the first named system of the season made landfall in Belize approximately twenty miles north of Belize with maximum sustained winds of about 65mph. The damage suffered by the country as a result of TS Alex was fairly minimal notwithstanding the fact that it was a very large system.
Karl and Matthew followed within 10 days of each other. What started off as an area of interest, I92L, out in the Caribbean, moved westward and reached tropical storm status “Tropical Storm Karl” late Tuesday afternoon, September 14th. At about 7:30am on Wednesday September 15th, the center of tropical storm Karl made landfall just north of the country of Belize, passing through and going towards Chetumal, Mexico with maximum sustained winds of about 45 mph. The extent of the tropical storm covered the area between San Pedro and Belize City, covering the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts and northward over the Yucatan Peninsula. This was followed shortly after by Matthew and Richard.
Hurricane Richard was the 17th named storm and the 10th hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. Richard developed from an area of low pressure that stalled in the Caribbean Sea in mid-October. It slowly organized and was declared a tropical storm and given the name Richard on October 20th 2010. At around 5:40pm on October 24th, Hurricane Richard made landfall about 20 miles south-southeast of Belize City at peak intensity with wind gusts of about 90-100mph.
Hurricane Richard crossed the country of Belize to the Guatemalan Boarder maintaining its strength all the way through. Hurricane Richard caused major structural damage and power outage for most of the country. The citrus industry suffered a major blow as all the citrus crops were blown off the trees. Richard destroyed many homes leaving thousands without roofs over their heads. However most importantly, Richard also caused the loss of two lives.
Through all these threats and in some cases, hurricanes, the National Emergency Management Organization NEMO and its various sub bodies, including the members of the Emergency Operating Committee were instrumental in maintaining order and keeping residents of both islands safe.
Miss Jeromey Timrose Augustine, DEC District Emergency Co-ordinator for Belize Rural south which includes San Pedro and Caye Caulker, hosted a final meeting for the hurricane season 2010. The meeting was held at the conference room at the Villas at Banyan Bay on Thursday December 2nd at2:00pm. The purpose of this meeting was to officially close the hurricane season as well as issue Certificates of Appreciation and awards to outstanding chair persons and members of the Emergency Operating Committee EOC that have supported NEMO throughout the Hurricane Season. Over 35 individuals gathered at the conference room, where Mayoress Elsa Paz offered her thanks to the team for a job well done during the Hurricane Season, as well as reports given by the various committee leaders.
After certificates and awards were issued, the group was invited for refreshments and a social. The San Pedro Sun congratulates all members of NEMO, the EOC, Public Servants as well as volunteers that worked tirelessly throughout all the threats that we faced in the past months, to keep us all informed and safe. Now that the threats are over, it is now time to re-build and start making plans for Hurricane Season 2011.