Belizeans Advised To Prepare for Tropical Force Conditions
By NEMO Press Officer
Wed, 19 Oct 2005, 23:25
The Preliminary Phase of the National Hurricane Emergency Plan for Belize remains in effect as the National Emergeny Management Organization (NEMO) continues to monitor the progress of Hurricane Wilma.As a cautionary measure, Belizeans have been advised to prepare for tropical force conditions during the next 24 hours.
A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the coastal areas of Northern Belize from Belize City North to the Belize/Mexico border. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm force winds are expected in this area within the next 24 hours. A number of residents living off Belize's coast have carried out a voluntary evacuation from vulnerable areas.
At 9pm local time the center of Hurricane Wilma was located near latitude 18.1 degrees North and longitude 84.3 degrees West or about 235 miles Southeast of Cozumel, Mexico.
Wilma continues to move West-Northwest near 8 miles per hour (mph). It is expected to pass to the Northeast of the country of Belize on Thursday after which it is expected to move on a Northeasterly track.
Maximum sustained winds are near 155 mph with higher gusts. The minimum central pressure is 894 millibars or 26.40 inches. Hurricane Force winds extend 70 miles from the center and Tropical Storm force winds extend 230 miles from the center.
Skies will become cloudy as feeder bands cross the country producing intense thunderstorms and 10 to 12 inches of rains. Winds over the sea will be Northwesterly at 15 to 25 knots and the sea state will be rough. Waves on the open sea will be 6 to 9 feet.
Although Hurricane Wilma has weakend to a Category 4 storm on Saffir Simpson scale it remains a dangerous storm that could reintensify on Thursday. Residents in Belize are advised to continue to monitor the movement of Wilma very closely.
NEMO has advised that those persons who are in the outer atolls and islands beyond the barrier reef should have began seeking safe harbor as waves are expected to build up to 6 to 9 feet. Sea-faring vessels have been advised to seek safe harbor.
The next bulletin will be issued by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) at 7am local time on Thursday, 20th October, 2005.