#15031 - 06/21/02 09:55 AM
Re: Weather 6/20
Torrential rains spawn floods in south and
Ever since Hurricane Iris carved
a path of destruction across
southern Belize last October,
Belize's weather has been
remarkably benign. The recent
dry season proved mercifully
short and the seasonal onset of
rain fell gently and evenly... until
now that is. Tropical waves moving across the
country have dumped up to twenty-three inches in
some areas and the result has been severe
flooding, primarily in the southern half of the
country. Several older bridges are underwater in
the Toledo District, creeks have eroded approaches
to bridges on the Hummingbird Highway, parts of
Belmopan have experienced localised flooding,
while the Sibun and Macal rivers are rising rapidly
and may threaten farms and homes in low lying
areas. From early afternoon Belize City has been
cut off from the south and west by rising waters at
mile forty-six and thirty-nine on the Western
Highway. News 5's Ann-Marie Williams, George
Tillett and Stephen Ferguson are just off the road
with the latest update.
Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting
"Two days of heavy rain in St. Matthews Village at
mile thirty-nine on the Western Highway is to blame
for ten to fifteen feet of water. Several families had to
be evacuated, and the Beaver Dam Bridge behind me
is impassable to small vehicles and cars."
Even SUV's, which are considerably higher, couldn't
make it. The lines went on for miles and several
drivers like Maria Martinez from Cayo were hoping the
waters would recede so she could get home.
"I took my friend to the airport this morning and I
passed here like around 11 o'clock and this bridge was
almost covered. So I tried to rush it, but I couldn't
make it and that's how I got stuck here."
"Did you send a message to family or friends to try to
come rescue you? What are you planning to do tonight
if the water doesn't go down?"
"Well right now I see the tractor took over a smaller
vehicle than this, so if he could go over, maybe I can
go over too, I hope."
Several of the residents who call St. Matthew's Village
home for over two decades, say never in the history of
Hurricane Keith, Iris or Mitch have they seen this type
of flooding. They also say that the flooding literally
crept up like a thief in the night.
"I have something like twelve steps and only four mi
left up to when I left. And just now when one ah my
friend gone dah back deh (there) inna (in) the canoe,
he say no step left out, it just left fi (to) go inside
now through the door. So that dah weh (is what) I di
tell my bwai (boyfriend) I the worry bout, because I
have some glass things with my radio pan (on) it and
I fraid when the water get in, the water wah start to
move them bout and that might drop off. So that dah
(is) all my worries right now because down stairs weh
(where) we deh (are), I mi have the stove, refrige,
lockers, chest of drawers and beds and mattress. And
all a that di float right now inna the downstairs. I noh
know weh wah (what will) happen to dem deh (them)
and deh dah (those are) big pieces, because I just
buy them, just six to eight months."
Elvira Guzman, mother of six, says she's never seen
flooding in this area in her ten years of living in the
"Due to weh my husband neva deh yah (not being
here), I couldn't get out nothing, dah (it was) just me
and the lee small kids them. Then I couldn't find
nothing fi tek (to take) off the stove fi ker (to carry)
upstairs nor nothing like that. And the water mi (was)
well strong because then from weh the hydro deh, the
water come in the shot, so I me well strong, so I
neva tek no chance and try go out deh because I no
know fi swim."
This is where Gwenneth Flowers and her two sons
reside. Today life is different, she says she's
"I feel bad right now because I noh have nothing,
nothing. I only have like two suit of clothes fi mi (for
my) back. everything food, refrige, stove, everything
deh inna the house, everything."
"You didn't have time to take out your things?"
"We could ah mi take out some, but then I neva think
the flood mi wah come like this. We put some of the
things like the refrige high and the TV high, but dah
white box dah weh the refrige mi deh pan and that di
float inna the house right now."
"You've never seen flooding like this before?"
"No, neva, I deh yah (I've been here) two years..."
"Have you ever spent a hurricane here?"
"Yes, I spend Iris in there."
Some other families, a little bit more fortunate, saved
several pieces of furnishings, including the chickens.
Karisha Sutherland is hoping the water will go down to
get her life back to normal.
"The water is inside my house, my things get wet and
I can't get anything out of it."
"You have a warm bed to sleep in tonight?"
"Yes, my mother's bed."
Which is four miles down the road. Although several
residents have to secure warms beds with families,
they're hopeful the various rivers will soon crest and
all will be well. Ann-Marie Williams for News 5.
According to Chief Meteorologist Carlos Fuller, rain
cells continue to develop in the west and along the
coast. While most of the flooding remains localised,
it is expected that major rivers like the Macal and
Sibun could begin overflowing their banks by Friday
if rains don't let up. Late word from the
Hummingbird Highway indicates that the western
approach to the Sibun Bridge has washed away,
and although the bridge is intact, there is a growing
number of people stranded on both sides. Crews
are currently attempting to erect walkways for
pedestrians to cross and buses are being called
from Belmopan and Dangriga to enable those
people to reach home. In Belmopan, the City
Council reports that one hundred and fifty-two
people are being put up in a public shelter, including
#15034 - 06/21/02 02:28 PM
Re: Weather 6/20
Office of the Prime Minister
NEMO Localized Flooding Report No. 3 of 21st June 2002
21 June, 2002 - Belmopan
Heavy rain fell over the Maya Mountains last night. This will exacerbate
floods in the Toledo, Stann Creek and Cayo Districts. Showers will
continue today producing another inch of rain. Significant improvement
will occur tomorrow.
In the Cayo District, the Macal River at Guacamallo is rising at the
rate of one foot per hour and the Mollejon, seven feet per hour. This
could produce a major flood in San Ignacio in a matter of hours.
Residents there should be at a high level alert. Floodwaters are also
on their way down the Belize River to Roaring Creek. At Mile 62 the
river has risen nine inches overnight and is only five feet below its
all time high. At Banana Bank the river is rising. The bridge at
Roaring Creek is being monitored as it can become submerged. Residents
along the Sibun River are also warned about the likelihood of flooding.
Rivers, which are fed from the eastern and northern slopes of the Maya
mountains, are also subject to further flooding. In Toledo District,
these include Deep River and Golden Stream, while in Stann Creek
District; they include the Sittee and North Stann Creek Rivers.
Yesterday's report issued at 6:00 p.m. stated:
Unstable weather conditions will continue through tonight and into
tomorrow producing localized flooding along the Western Hummingbird
highways. The Weather Bureau reports that another rain cell developed
over the Maya Mountain early this afternoon, which will cause short
periods of flooding along Deep River and Golden Stream in Toledo
The floodwaters are gradually receding at the portion of the Western
Highway between miles 46 and 47. This will allow limited access to
large vehicles after 5:00 p.m. this afternoon. Motorists are advised to
follow the directions of Transport Department and Ministry of Works
personnel on the scene that will determine whether it is safe for their
vehicles to cross.
Yesterday's rainfall, totalled 13.15 inches at Belmopan, broke the
one-day rainfall record of 8.42 inches set on 23rd June 1990 for that
station. It is also greater than average rainfall for the entire month
of June, which is 12.04 inches. Since 9 o'clock this morning, an
additional 3.37 inches of rain has fallen on Belmopan.
The 22.83 inches recorded at the Hummingbird Hershey shattered the
one-day rainfall record of 10.20 inches set on 26 June 1997. It is also
more than twice the normal monthly total of 11.16 inches, and in one day
exceeded the wettest June total of 18.74 inches recorded in 1997.
The Macal River at Mollejon has risen 18 feet since yesterday and
continues to rise. Reports from Cristo Rey indicate that the river is
now rising rapidly. The Mopan River at Benque Viejo Del Carmen was
rising slowly, but it has stabilized. The River at Jaguar Paw continues
to rise rapidly. The level of water is one foot below the top of the
cave and only one and a half feet from the top of the Bank.
The North Stann Creek River at Melinda has risen an additional two feet
since morning and at the Belize Water Service facility, it has risen by
an additional one and half feet. Mullins River has risen by about four
The National Emergency Management Organization advises motorists that
conditions on the nation's highways are extremely dangerous and
people should not use the Highways unless it is absolutely necessary.
NEMO will continue to monitor the situation and advises those people
living in areas prone to flooding, particularly near rivers, to be alert
and keep listening to the radio for the latest advisories on flood
warnings, and be prepared to move to higher grounds if necessary.
#15036 - 06/22/02 07:43 PM
Re: Weather 6/20
We just got back from Ambergris. Weather there last few days was weird...(6/17 onward). VEry windy, unstable seas, overcast with occasional sprinkles. Lots of threatening looking clouds around.
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