Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hurricane Ernesto Update

Hurricane Ernesto

Update for Hurricane Ernesto:

There is now a 10:00pm tonite until 10:00am in the morning curfew in place while the storm passes through Belize.  Only officials and workers that are on duty will be allowed out at this time.  No alcohol sales from noon until.  The San Pedro water taxis and Tropic Air discontinued services today at noon.  However, international flights into Belize have not been cancelled as of yet.  Evacuation is still on a voluntary basis.

More information from Tacogirl's Blog.

Rapid intensification of the storm has not happened yet but is still expected. We will experience sustained winds of 55 knots or 65 mph. Currently the Caribbean sea temperature is 29 degrees, 1 degree less than yesterday. It is expected that the storm will intensify before it makes landfall and is currently traveling West North West and will turn a bit south. All computer storm models are showing in sync with each other.

Time of Ernesto’s arrival will be within within 24 hours, winds will pick up to 80 mph by 6am and storm intensification will stop by 8am. Hurricane Ernesto is currently 250 miles east of Belize 180 miles away from Roatan Honduras. Ernesto will affect Honduras, the entire coast of Belize, Chetumal, east coast of Yucatan and end up at Bay of Campeche by Wed afternoon.

3-5 inches of rain is expected over a 24 hour period and will be more extreme over mountains on the mainland of Belize. Waves 2-4 ft over normal, Corozal may see more of the storm surge. At 8am during high tide we can expect up to 6 ft of waves. Night will be less as tide will be going out.

Low laying areas such as DFC, San Pedrito, Elliot subdivision and San Mateo will need to evacuate and find safer accommodations, 50% of San Mateo should not stay put and head to a shelter center by this afternoon. Those in safer houses need to make sure they have potable drinking water and adequate supplies. In San Mateo there is a risk pipes breaking and water contamination. Shelters at Shalom, Living Word Church and San Pedro High School will be open and taking people from 2:00pm -6pm. Strict shelter rules, NO candles or matches at shelters, NO pets, and bare minimum of stuff. People are requested to stay with friends and family first and use shelter only in the event they have no where else to go.

Lara Goldman HURRICANE TIP: Roll up towel in bottom of large trash bag. Place bag OUTSIDE door, pull opening of bag under the door so that the roll is flush with the bottom of the OUTSIDE of the door. Pull taunt. The water will press the towel and bag to the bottom outside of the door forming a seal against water. Putting on the inside of the door doesn’t do diddly. Lesson learned and tested to success in Hurricane Dean :)

Next NEMO meeting at 12:00 pm. If there is anything new to report I will update in this post, if you do not see any further updates consider it no news is good news and everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing and on track to keeping safe and sound.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ernesto Our First Hurricane in Belize

Tropical Storm Ernesto will be our first experience with a hurricane since our move to Belize.  So far the forecast is that it will be a category 1 hurricane when it comes ashore in Belize.  A category 1 can bring winds of 74-95 mph.  Everyone on the island for the most part is going about as usual.  Some businesses are closing tomorrow until the storm passes.  There is supposed to be some pretty gusty winds with this storm, so Bill is getting his pepper plants inside and protected from the storm.

I thought I would pass along some hurricane evacuation tips that I found on Tacogirls Blog.

Tropic Air Hurricane evacuation Tips:

In the event that we are facing a hurricane, Tropic Air will begin Evacuation Service immediately.

Tropic’s goal is to evacuate their customers as safely and efficiently as possible. Please help Tropic Air make your family evacuation plan safe and efficient by keeping the following tips in mind:

1.  A hurricane evacuation will begin when a storm is declared within the Hurricane Watch.
2.  Tickets are issued on a first come, first served basis.
3.  Please arrive at the Tropic Air with your luggage, two small bags per person, prepared to      evacuate.
4.  Owners of large pets that require kenneling must evacuate pets during the hurricane watch phase of the threat to San Pedro. No pet space will be available during the height of an emergency evacuation (Hurricane Warning).
5.  Please remember that cargo is on a space available basis, and over sized items will not be sent during this time.
6.   During an emergency evacuation Tropic Air will evacuate as many people as possible. Sometime during the Red Flag stage, Tropic will be forced to stop flying.

NEMO Hurricane Information:

Hurricane – A low pressure, large-scale weather system, which derives its energy from latent heat of condensation of water vapor over warm tropical seas, (may have a diameter of 93 to 621 miles, with sustained winds exceeding 116 mph, near the center with still higher gusts). (PAHO, 1992).

Hurricane Categories and Intensity Scale
Numbers range from one to five based on the hurricane’s present intensity which gives an estimate of the potential flooding and damages to property form a hurricane is as follows:

One: Winds 119-153 km h1 (74-95 mph)
No real damage to building structures; damage primarily to un-anchored mobile home, shrubbery and trees.

Two: Winds 154-177 km h1 (96-110 mph) Some roofing, door and window damage to buildings; considerable damage to vegetation, expose mobile homes, and piers. Small craft in unprotected anchorage’s break moorings.

Three: Winds 178-209 km h1 (111-130 mph) Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings, with a minor amount of curtain wall failures, mobile home are destroyed.

Four: Winds 210-249 km h1 (131-155 mph) More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences.

Five: Winds greater than 249 km h1 (155 mph) Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings, some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away.
The following scale was developed by Saffir and Simpson and is commonly known as the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale (SSH) and was submitted by the National Meteorological Service.

Category 1 – Storm surge – up to 5 feet of water
Category 2 – Storm surge – 9 to 12 feet of water
Category 3 – Storm surge – 15 to 18 feet of water
Category 4 – Storm surge – 18 to 21 feet of water
Category 5 – Storm surge – 18 to 24 feet of water

Adapted from Health Sector Hurricane management plan 2000

Hurricane Warnings-The system of hurricane warnings is divided into four phases.

Phase I – Preliminary – One Red Flag – 21 N 80 W This Phase is declared by the Prime Minister after a tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane moves into or develops anywhere in the quadrant south of 21 degrees North Latitude and west of 80 degrees west Longitude.

Phase II – Red 1 – One Red Flag with Black Center – 20 N 84 W (24 – 36 hours) This Phase is declared by NEMO when a tropical storm, or hurricane moves into or develops anywhere in the quadrant south of 20 degrees North Latitude and west 84 degrees west Longitude.

Phase III – Red 2 – Two Red Flags with Black Center – 20 N 85 W (Likely to strike in a few hours)
This Phase is declared by NEMO when a tropical storm, or hurricane moves into or develops anywhere in quadrant south of 20 degrees North Latitude and west of 85 degrees West Longitude and appears likely to strike the coast of Belize in a matter of hours.

Phase IV – Green – Green Flag ALL Clear (has passed) This Phase is declared by NEMO after a tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane has passed, or no longer poses a threat to Belize and coastal waters.