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Belize To Stay Calm but Vigilant as Tropical Weather, 97L (Now TD14), Approaches

Note: Originally published August 20th, 9am Belize Time (SMT) when storm was 97L; updated 5 hours later, 2pm, upgraded to TD 14

Photos outside now:

Lazy balcony view

Dog walk view

My Experience with Storms on Ambergris Caye

Over my past 9 years of blogging, I’ve started quite a few blog posts this way over the years – you can see many of them below – and almost all ended up moving away from us, drenching us but little else or dying down.  Rina, Nate, Harvey, Franklin…I don’t even remember these names though there is evidence below shows I wrote about them!  Some summers, we had 2…maybe 3 Tropical Storm Watches…some summers, none.

But as we also all know is that…it only takes one.  And vigilance and preparation are not to be taken lightly.  It only takes one urgent Hurricane warning or a Tropical Storm hitting the island to realize that storms here are taken dead-seriously.  So NOT the thing of levity or hurricane parties.

While we are a large island blessed by a barrier reef – but we are an island with an average elevation of a few feet at most – and some live below sea level.

I moved here in early 2007 – and I would estimate that we have seen about ten tropical storm/hurricane watches.

NOAA defines a Hurricane Watch as: A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds in an area. 

My first storm – Hurricane Dean – was fearsome but shifted north at what felt like the last minute (my birthday, August 21, 2007).  Hurricane Richard in 2010.  And then we saw Hurricane Earl, a Category One in 2016, that left much of the island windblown but okay…but most of the town’s docks wrecked.

What We Are Looking At Now

Just over a few weeks ago, the Crown Weather Services predicted that the next month would be “hyperactive” for storms in the Caribbean.

And as if on cue, the tropical disturbances started to roll into the Atlantic from the Sahara.

This map is from NHC.

And the five-day projection cone for TD14 – the next to storm names on the list are LAURA and MARCO.  While the eye of the storm tracks north of us now, you can see in the second model that we can still experience winds.

Here is the Navy’s update…moving a bit more north.


Right now, it seems like it is tracking well north of us.  But as we all know, tropical weather is changeable – and this is one to keep an eye on.

Our current weather is STILL.  The last day or two have been incredibly hot, humid and still.  The ocean calm as a millpond – almost no wake from the reef over the past few days.  Let me just say that the mosquitos are LOVING IT.  As are the swallows and the dragonflies.

 

Some of the Best Information On Hurricanes and Hurricane Movement

I always check NHC/NOAA first.

Wunderground for the models and information once a storm is declared.

The US Navy’s Tropical Cyclone page is also a good one.

Jeff’s “friend” Levi at Tropical Tidbits does a fantastic evening update that makes you feel like you are working in a weather center.

In Belize, NEMO – the National Emergency Management Org – issued an update last night.  They are the ones to keep an eye on for any local information, specifics like evacuations and local warnings.

Preparations

As our local NEMO office says:  this is not a time to panic.  And…for other reasons, most of Ambergris Caye has provisions like freshwater, food, medicines, and other essentials fully stocked right now.  (We are currently on day 14 of a 28 day COVID quarantine)

At our house, Jeff has put up many of the storm shutters – and at the camp, we have packed up the SUPs and kayaks, taken his boat out of the water but THAT IS NOT FOR THIS STORM!

It is general preparations that can be done for the storm season – and they were done early because tourism is closed anyway.

 

We are waiting to see if it is necessary to clean up loose items in the yard – branches, coconuts…things that can move around if the winds pick up.

Stay tuned to your favorite weather service and…calm but vigilant.  It’s a good mantra.

 





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