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Jun 17, 2013

Tropical Depression #2 crosses the country

Forecasters predict an active hurricane season with eighteen storms of which nine are expected to develop into major hurricanes. And so it is that two weeks into June, the first tropical depression for this season to affect Belize has been causing heavy rains in the south and the rest of the country. While it first for the country, since June first, three systems have developed…a tropical storm and two tropical depressions. But it’s tropical depression number two that has been causing torrential winds and rains and triggered the closure of several schools. There are also reports of flooding in southern Belize and sustained wind gusts of up to forty-four point one miles hour in the cayes. Late this evening, the National Emergency Management Organization issued a release confirming that tropical depression two was traveling west-north-west at “approximately twelve miles per hour over southern Belize with maximum sustained wind at thirty-five miles per hour.” The release confirms that Mullins River is three feet above the temporary bypass on the coastal road and it is closed to vehicular traffic; as is the Boom Creek Road at Armando Creek which is under three and a half feet of water.  News Five spoke today with Chief Met Officer, Dennis Gonguez, who says that the system was being monitored since last week.

 

Dennis Gonguez, Chief Meteorological Officer

Dennis Gonguez


“Mid-week last week, we were monitoring an active tropical wave moving across central Caribbean. And this wave started to affect us on Sunday with the showers and thunderstorms that we had around the country yesterday. And eventually this morning, a tropical depression formed just to the east of us. The nine o’clock position was at sixteen point nine north and eighty-seven point six west. That position was about ninety-eight miles east-north-east of Punta Gorda and about sixty miles east of Monkey River. This depression is moving towards the west-north-west at about thirteen miles per hour. It is forecast to cross our coastline by mid afternoon moving inland and exiting our country by six, seven o’clock this evening. So the system should be out of our neck of the woods by tomorrow. So in the meantime, the major threat from the system is the rainfall. We had up to an inch and a half, two inches around the country last night and we are expecting an additional two to three inches out of this system. So the biggest threat right now is rainfall as oppose to the winds. We do get winds…we are having some winds out in San Pedro and Caye Caulker at about thirty miles per hour gusting to about forty-one miles per hour, but the major threat will be the rains.”

 

Duane Moody

“I know there are reports of flooding down south…I think up to four feet of water. Is this expected?”

 

Dennis Gonguez

“Yes as the system moves across the mainland during the course of this afternoon, the rains will be focusing in the north. Then as the system heads further west and the winds come out from the south and the south-west, then the southern parts of the country can expect some rainfall during tonight and tomorrow morning. But during the daytime today, the focus will be in the north. There will be rains around the country, but the bulk of it will be in the north during this afternoon and this evening. In the south, tonight and in the morning.”

 

Duane Moody

“Any warnings for the coastline, for the cayes; anything like that?”

 

Dennis Gonguez

“We’re not issuing any warnings at this time; except for the warnings issued by the National Meteorological Service for small craft warnings and the like. However, we are not issuing an entire warning for the coastline as we typically do with threats because this system will be on top of us in a matter of hours and it is not a major threat to us.”

 

Duane Moody

“Was it expected to be this intense because of course some people are fearful for the fact that it is just the first two weeks into the hurricane season and we are already getting rains of this intensity?”

 

Dennis Gonguez

“Well the seasonal forecast was for an active season and it seems, as you said, we are heading into the third week of the hurricane season and we already have two depressions and a tropical storm already. So it does seem as the forecast will verify this year as an active season.”

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