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Apr 24, 2017

Sudden Storm Lashes Biscayne, Rips Through Homes

A freak thunderstorm swept through parts of Biscayne, Belize District over the weekend. Though not unusual, it left in its passage considerable damages to property, but fortunately there were no injuries reported.   The storm had been forecasted, but residents did not expect its severity. Today, we found them picking up the pieces.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports. 


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Along this stretch of the Phillip Goldson Highway, residents in the roadside community of Biscayne, those affected by a severe weather system over the weekend, are piecing together what’s left of their homes.  On Saturday, an extremely unpleasant thunderstorm formed overhead.  The cloudburst brought with it gale-force winds that left a path of destruction in its wake.


Antonio Gonzalez

Antonio Gonzalez, Resident of Biscayne

“My di talk to me and tell me fi look up and thing eena di sky.  I look up and thing eena di sky and di whole sky mi black, black, black… Lightning and thing mi di go ahn and thing.  But before that, before that, we mi di sihdown and thing, like you know, da back and thing and then afta that my pa tell me, my pa tell me fi look round ahn thing fu di breeze.  When we turn fu we face pan di, like you know, pan di right hand side or the left hand side, we just feel strong, strong breeze di come een and thing, di rain and thing and di zinc dehn lift up and thing.”


Antonio Gonzalez and his father are lucky to have escaped the fury of the freak storm unharmed.  The house, its zinc roof completely ripped away from the rest of the wooden structure and tossed across the other side of the highway, is in shambles.  They’ve been sleeping without cover since Saturday night.  So too, has Andy Dominguez and his family elsewhere in the village.


Andy Dominguez

Andy Dominguez, Resident of Biscayne

“I neva deh home at the moment noh.  I mi deh da Belize, but when I, dehn call me and tell me and when I cohn I see di roof ova di next side ah di road.  All the high tension wire chop weh… I decide ah wahn staat work ahn back yesterday.  So Mr. Castro dehn mi cohn round and seh deh mi wahn cohn gi we wahn lee help but dehn seh dat dah way dah til Wednesday before we could get material.  But I cyant leff my house like dat because then I got everything een deh.”


The weather system, as explained by Acting Chief Met Officer Catherine Cumberbatch, is not an unusual occurrence at this time of year.


Catherine Cumberbatch

Catherine Cumberbatch, Acting Chief Met Officer

“We had a line of thunderstorm that developed after midday and one of the cells, one of the thunderstorm cells was just more intense than the others and that was what caused the outburst in Biscayne.  And as history teaches and data shows, that is not an unusual event for such an event to occur.  We had in the past and even in the Maskall area where you have severe thunderstorms affecting those areas and it has to do with instability and daytime heating that causes these outbursts.”


Under the midday sun, Dominguez is busy laying blocks and plastering a mixture of cement.  He is determined not to spend another night under the makeshift tarp cover.  A preliminary estimate of the damages incurred sets him back a few thousand dollars.


Andy Dominguez

“Well the structure, at least when yo could look pan di structure at least yoh di look pan three thousand, five hundred dollars eena material because yo haftu buy zinc, blocks and then yo haftu put it up back.  But with the TV and thing dehn, ih wah value seh bout two thousand five hundred.  So the value wah be bout six or seven thousand dollars eena damage.”


Those are also damages that Mark Anthony Gonzalez needs help with.  Since settling here back in 1993, he has endured a number of natural disasters, including Hurricane Earl in August of last year.


Marc Anthony Gonzalez

Marc Anthony Gonzalez, Resident of Biscayne

“I need siding, zinc, two by four, nails, door, windows and all ah dehn kind of things.”


Isani Cayetano

“In all your years, is this the first tornado that you’ve experienced and is this the worst that you’ve seen it.”


Marc Anthony Gonzalez

“Well tornado is the first one, but the first time the hurricane carried the house again.  The first time.  This is the second time the house gaan again because da two times ih happen.  The first time we patch up di house, we build up di house back.  But this time di tornado seh ih wah carry it back again and Minister Castro seh if wahn give me a good hand.”


And that’s what the area representative and NEMO minister has been doing.  To be clear, however, that area of Biscayne was not struck by a tornado, as the features of that particular weather system are relatively different.  Nonetheless, personnel from the local office of the National Emergency Management Organization have been dispatched to the scene of the disaster and assistance has been pledged for affected residents. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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