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Aug 17, 2001

Just in case…Belizeans prepare for Chantal

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Tropical storm Chantal is still many miles away, but having had a front row seat for Mitch in 1998 and Keith in 2000, no Belizean is going to take any chances as long as there is a piece of weather with a name attached to it anywhere in the Caribbean. The fast moving storm, which this evening was located in the Central Caribbean, well south of the Dominican Republic, is predicted to slow down, gather strength, and perhaps head our way. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods spoke to chief meteorologist Carlos Fuller around midday, just before Chantal was upgraded to the status of tropical storm.

Carlos Fuller, Chief Meteorologist

“It has entered an environment very favourable to development, that is in the Caribbean Sea. Surface temperatures are eighty-four eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit, very good for development and the atmospheric conditions are such that there are no strong winds to tear it a part. So everything is showing that this thing should strengthened within the next day or two. The only thing that is keeping it back from strengthening is the fast movement of its speed. It’s moving so fast that the thunderstorms are having a hard time keeping up with it so that is the only thing that is keeping it from developing.

Our projections are that it will gradually slow down, yes. So we believe that by tomorrow it will go down to twenty miles per hour and possibly on Sunday something like ten miles per hour. If that does materialise then we can see this thing intensifying into a tropical storm possibly by tomorrow or even a hurricane on Sunday.

If it remains as a tropical depression the area of rainfall is very large extending from Puerto Rico all the way down to Venezuela and Colombia. If it comes in at that rate on Monday, we should expect rains in Belize. However, if it remains, if it continues to develop and becomes a very tight hurricane slamming into Nicaragua, then it should not really expect to affect our weather at all. However again it is a difference story if it is a hurricane and it is in our area however then all best are off then.

All we can do at this stage is to continue to monitor the system very carefully. We are getting advisories something like every six hours. So by looking at television in the morning afternoon and evening, listening to radio you will be tracking how this is going. I would keep an eye on the fifteen degree north latitude. If it stays south of fifteen degrees north that means it will impact somewhere in Nicaragua and we are pretty safe. Once it moves north of fifteen north, however, then we star getting into a dangerous area for Belize and we need to be more careful about it.”

As long as Chantal is a potential threat to Belize, News 5 will be airing the latest tropical weather update, courtesy of the Weather Channel, at the top of every hour.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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