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Dec 11, 2007

December storm could threaten Belize

Story PictureIt’s December eleventh and in most of Belize it was a beautiful day. So why are we leading tonight’s news with a weather story? Because, believe it or not, almost two weeks after the end of the hurricane season, there’s a tropical storm heading in our direction. News Five’s Janelle Chanona has the story from the Weather Bureau.

Ramon Frutos, Acting Chief Meteorologist
“The steering currents presently associated with Olga are moving it westwards and basically that is what the projections are for the next two to three days. So we need to monitor this system very closely and see how it will evolve.”

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
Tonight weather experts are predicting that by Friday morning Olga could be at Belize’s front door and everyone is warned to stay tuned to the latest updates as the system moves into our area. Olga popped up on the radar late last week and tonight she is being referred to as a sub-tropical storm because she was born from an upper level low pressure area. And although she’s causing trouble in the Central Caribbean, cooler waters and strong upper level winds are expected to tear apart most of Olga’s organization as she nears the Yucatan Peninsula. But even if Olga weakens to a tropical wave, the system is bringing plenty of water.

Ramon Frutos
“Right now they are projecting rainfall from about ten to twelve inches over the Dominican Republic, especially the south coast of the Dominican Republic. The same amount could result in Jamaica as the system over Jamaica early on Thursday. And the mountainous areas of Jamaica could exacerbate or enhance the rainfall activity.”

With the devastating effects of the tropical wave in August still fresh in the minds of most Belize City residents, officials have decided to take a proactive stance against the storm.

Ramon Frutos
“At this moment, NEMO has been informed about the situation from this office and they are abreast of what the evolution would be over the next two days. So NEMO is on standby in the event that indeed Olga is downgraded to a depression later on and maintains its integrity as a big rain producer then NEMO, one or two the other committees of NEMO could be activated, the relevant committees, to deal with a flood condition.”

This is not the first time a tropical system has threatened Belize so late in the year. In 2005, a record breaking number of storms for the year included Gamma, which developed in November. The tropical storm eventually veered east but Frutos says Belizeans need to realize that Mother Nature is on her own timing.

Ramon Frutos
“Conditions in the atmosphere could evolve and become very favourable for a system, a disturbance to evolve into a major hurricane come December or even January, into the new year. So it’s a fact that we need to be aware of and climatic conditions are becoming much more variable. In one part, it has to do with the warming of the climate system, climate change. In another aspect it could be just conditions changing and the hurricane season extending a little further down into the end of the year so it’s something we have to be aware of and be prepared.”

And while tonight that preparedness does not include stocking up on food supplies, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your umbrella, raincoat, and rubber boots handy.

Reporting for News Five, I am Janelle Chanona.

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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