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Aug 7, 2012

Hurricane Ernesto heads north of Belize

When we signed off the news on Monday, Tropical Storm Ernesto was heading in our path. But tonight, there’s a sigh of relief since Hurricane Ernesto is moving away and heading further up north into Mexico. That’s the latest from the Belize Met Service and the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO). This afternoon, the phase two hurricane watch was reduced to a tropical storm warning for the south. Residents in Corozal and San Pedro, however, are still expected to feel the effects of the category one hurricane, which will produce heavy winds and rains as well as flooding. The rest of the country has dodged the bullet. Landfall in the Yucatan coast is still expected to be at around midnight, when the brunt of the storm will be felt, particularly in the northernmost communities of Corozal. Meteorologist, Ronald Gordon, provided the update to News Five.

 

Ronald Gordon, Meteorologist

Ronald Gordon

“At three p.m. local time, Hurricane Ernesto was centered at latitude eighteen point eight degrees north, longitude eighty-six point two degrees west. That’s about a hundred and fifty-nine miles to the northeast of Belize City and about a hundred and forty-five miles east by north of Corozal Town. At that time, Ernesto was heading towards the west northwest at fifteen miles per hour and we expect this motion to continue through this evening until tonight when the storm makes landfall. Maximum sustained winds were near eighty miles per hour with higher gusts and some strengthening is still possible before landfall later tonight.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“So to put it in layman’s terms, it’s moving away.”

 

Ronald Gordon

“Yes, it is gradually moving away from us, which is good news for us.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“Where is it expected to make landfall now? Is it still going to be Mahahual or further up?”

 

Ronald Gordon

“Okay, landfall is expected to be further to the north around Punta Allen on the Mexican Yucatan Coast.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“What does that mean now for us, particularly the northern districts that are threatened?”

 

Ronald Gordon

“People along the northern areas of Belize like in Corozal District or extreme northern areas of Corozal can still expect to experience tropical storm force winds, that’s about forty miles per hour or higher and rainfall of about three to five inches with isolated maximum of eight inches or so. These could produce coastal flooding and some surge can be expected on the western side of San Pedro, but not too much. At three p.m. local time, NEMO declared that a hurricane warning will remain from Belize City, northward to the Mexican border while a tropical storm warning is from Belize City southward to the Guatemalan border.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“So the entire coast is still on watch.”

 

Ronald Gordon

“That’s right. The entire coast is still on warning but the hurricane warning has been decreased somewhat to just be the northern parts of the country. I’d like to say to the people up north in the Corozal area and in San Pedro to keep alert. The system has not made landfall as yet and as it approaches and as it makes landfall, the tropical storm force winds normally spread out and that’s when they will experience the heavier winds and also the rainfall potential will increase at that time.”

 

We’ll have more on the hurricane later in the newscast, but the regular weather report will not be available because the recording studio in Belize City closed early today.

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