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.


  1. any updates? I have friends visiting - they're in San Ignacio currently and supposed to go to Caye Caulker tomorrow!!

    1. They are probably not bringing any people out to the islands right now. They would need to stay on the mainland. It's supposed to last about 3 days but the worst coming in later today as of last reports.


Leave a comment "dear friend"