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Nov 30, 2005

Belize bids goodbye to hurricane season; but is it over?

Story PictureToday marked the official end of what weather experts are calling an “incredibly active” hurricane season, with just about every record shattered. According to the National Meteorological Service, this year there were twenty-six named storms, the most since 1933 when there were twenty-one. Authorities are attributing the increase to above normal sea surface temperatures, a situation which continues to create tropical activity right now in the form of Epsilon, which is currently churning in the Atlantic. Epsilon poses no threat to Belize or any other land mass, but according to Deputy Chief Meteorologist Ramon Frutos, present conditions in the Caribbean Sea could allow for yet another system to develop.

Ramon Frutos, Deputy Chief Meteorologist
?The hurricane season officially closes today, but in the atmosphere, the atmosphere doesn?t know that, so anything can happen between now and the end of the year. For example, in 2003 we had two tropical storms forming in the Atlantic Basin in December. So it?s not unusual for a storm to form, let?s say at the beginning or before the hurricane season in April and also a storm probably to develop in December.?

?What has triggered many of the major storms to develop or the amount of tropical storms that really developed was the unusually high sea surface temperature in the Atlantic basin. And sea surface temperatures, even though they have diminished to a certain extent, are still above normal in the Caribbean. So if we should have a major cold front coming down and it merges, let?s say with a tropical disturbance in the western Caribbean, then it could evolve into a small storm or a tropical storm or something like that in December. So to the Belizean public, what I would say is just remain vigilant and continue to monitor the weather reports and we at the weather bureau will continue to do our jobs.?

Janelle Chanona
?Your message to the Belizean public??

Ramon Frutos
?The message to the Belizean public–what we would like to say is thanks to the Belizean public for being patient with us when we were trying to get out the weather information and the bulletins this year. Thanks to the Belizean public also for being so cooperative with NEMO. During the emergency with Wilma we did have to do some evacuations from coastal areas. I?m not too sure what was the number of people that had to be evacuated, but people cooperated in that exercise. And Wilma was a simulation in the making, a real time simulation for us, so it didn?t cost the Government of Belize money to really conduct that exercise, nature the provided scenario. However, it was an experience from which we learnt quite a lot and what I realise from that now is that the Belizean public is much sensitised, much more educated on what to do in the event of an emergency.?

If another system does develop, it would be named using the sixth letter in the Greek alphabet: Zeta. According to Frutos, Epsilon is heading north towards Bermuda but is expected to make a ninety degree turn towards the Azores before the weekend.

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