Natural phenomenon makes an appearance in Belize District

If you don’t live in the Ladyville area you may have had only a short glimpse of a water spout, or what can be termed as a mini tornado by local standards. And as Marion Ali discovered, while the phenomenon is not reported to have caused any major damage as it zipped just north of the National Meteorological Service on Saturday, these systems are known to topple planes, homes and vehicles as they have in the not too distant past in areas such as Crooked Tree and San Pedro.

Marion Ali, Reporting

Water spouts, mini tornadoes or freak storms as they are locally called are a rarity on land in Belize. In fact, these weather systems are only reported once every few years. But they are quite a regular sight to mariners traversing the nation’s waters, such as this one which our camera captured off the coast of San Pedro in January of 2009. But one did cross over a small area of land in Belize over the weekend. These pictures posted on the Weather Channel were taken by Dinah Acosta as the system formed over and whisked over a portion of Ladyville after nine on Saturday morning, just as unstable weather was passing over the area.

Derek Rudon, Meteorologist

derek rudon

“These things form when conditions are unstable and conditions were moist and unstable on that day. And they form from the cumulous clouds or the clouds that give showers or thunderstorm clouds and our radar shows that a shower was passing that area at the same time, so more than likely it formed right at the bottom of the cloud. There was a funnel cloud that formed there.”

Funnel clouds do not always form during a regular shower, but because in an active rainy and hurricane season is fast approaching, Meteorologist, Derek Rudon, says you are likely to see one at anytime.

Derek Rudon

“They are more frequent over water. They’re rarer over land.”

Marion Ali

“This is not something that you can predict, can you?”

Derek Rudon

“No, it’s very difficult to predict these things. We can maybe say that they are likely but on any given day you can’t say that one will occur.”

And while their force is nothing close to that of a full fledge North American tornado, you wouldn’t want to be caught in the path of one like this phenomenon that ripped homes and shattered a commercial aircraft on August twenty-ninth, 2002 in San Pedro.

Derek Rudon

“They can come with a little wind, maybe twenty-five/thirty knots, like I said. Thunderstorms sometimes have winds gushing out of thunderstorms, hitting the ground and then moving out horizontally on the ground and those winds can reach tropical storm strength as well.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Marion Ali.