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Marty Offline
"The six o’clock evening weather report on Thursday forecasted
thunderstorms across the northern half of the country. But when shortly
after midnight the wind intensity matched those of a weak hurricane, it
took many people by surprise, knocking out power supply in some areas. In
fact it was so strong that a few homes suffered structural damage. The
weather system, according to Forecaster, Frank Tench, was caused by two
surface troughs. He told Love News that while the radar picked up the
thunderstorm, forecasters were taken by surprise with the intensity of the

Frank Tench - Forecaster
“In terms of the intensity of the storm, we were caught off guard by what
happened. To forecast how much intensification a storm is going to go is
always the hardest part of any forecaster’s job; not only for us but
forecasters around the world. We could say we had tropical storm force

This was what the thunderstorm did to Teddy Robinson’s house when this
Smart tower fell on his rooftop at eighty three Raccoon Street.

Teddy Robinson, tower crashed onto his rooftop
“I said it was only a breeze when suddenly it was no breeze that we could
think about. It started to bring up things. So I carried my friend over
to the house and then I heard bam on my house. I said Oh Lord, why.”

Equally as frightened by the thunderstorm was Agnes Grant of John Smith
Street, Belama Phase Two Extension, who lost her entire roofing and when we
visited with her today, she shared her frightening experience.

Agnes Grant, lost rooftop in thunderstorm
“I heard the zinc making a lot of noise, the cement started to fall off,
the zinc flew off. I don’t know how my dog didn’t die. I had two guys
sleeping in the room and it started to rain and so when I rushed out of the
room the whole house was under flood. I went to woke them up and they said
they could not come out because it was raining, the zincs were flying.
Right now I am still asking for help."

While there were more homeowners who suffered mainly damage to their
roofing, Tench said there has been no report of any incident at sea.

Frank Tench
- Forecaster
“If this storm had caught any mariner at sea off guard, the results could
have been potentially catastrophic because nowhere in the forecast were
reports issued for small craft caution or warning and the way the winds we
were forecasting was much less than what occurred. So far we have not had
any reports of mariners having accidents at sea.”

Tench advises that there is also the possibility of more thunderstorms to
develop as early as tonight but in the southern part of the country.

Story at http://www.lovefm.com/ndisplay.php?nid=14079

Marty Offline

Strange Squall Scares City

And while its employees must be reeling from the news of an imminent, inevitable government takeover, today, BEL work crews were out doing emergency repairs in the Belize District after a freak storm last night.

It was a ferocious squall which descended on the city at about 1:00 am with tremendous lightning bolts and driving winds and rains from the northwest.

The winds gusted up to 50 miles an hour, felling this SMART telephone tower on Raccoon Street and leaving it like a crumpled paper clip.

No one was hurt, but it did make for a terrific site, reminiscent of when our channel 7 tower collapsed in Hurricane Richard.

This, though, was not a hurricane - but with winds of 51 miles an hour, it qualified for tropical storm for winds - and coming as it did from an unusual direction, it exposed many unknown weaknesses in structures. And the unknown was a key element in this squall - because not even the MET office forecasted it. We asked about that today:

Frank Tench, Meteorologist
"The radar images are showing the rain echoes as they approach the country from the north with our border with Mexico and as it move across the dark green areas represent areas where the showers and thunder storms were particularly intense as they move across the northern part of the Belize District."

Jules Vasquez
"Is it something that was unforeseeable or unforeseen?"

Frank Tench, Meteorologist
"In terms of the severity of the storms we were caught off-guard with that. What happen last night was that the thunder storms were particularly severe and they affected not only the northern districts but portions of northern Belize District last night. Part of the weather experience could be describe as a squall because of the strong winds and the intense rain showers that accompanied this squall. We recorded gusts up to 44 knots here last night which is about 51 miles per hour wind. The wind factor would probably work out a little off-guard with the strength of the winds and the severity of some of the showers and thunder storms that accompanied it but in general we did expect thunder storms in the forecast."

"Any structure that's not properly constructed and not build to withstand those kinds of winds would suffer some structural damage due to these kinds of winds. Another factor to bear in mind would have been the effect on marine activity; we did not issue a small craft caution or warning in the forecast up to last night so any mariner on the sea would have been caught off-guard with this kind of winds."

Many areas had extended power outages due to damage to lampposts and power lines….

Channel 7

Marty Offline

Met Office explains 50 mile per hour freak storm

Rhaburn’s home was not the only one damaged. A section of a roof on a home in the Jane Usher Boulevard area of Belize City was also blown off. According to the Met Service, the intense winds were clocked at fifty miles an hour. While the forecast had called for a change of weather primarily in the north, we got more than was expected. Forecaster Frank Tench explains.

Frank Tench, Forecaster

“What we had last night was a case of a severe storm and it had a line squall which produced particularly strong winds before the heavy rains which impacted portions of the northern Belize district including Belize City late last night and early this morning. The thunder storms originated across in the Yucatan part of southern Mexico then moved across the border just before midnight and produced some heavy rains in the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts before approaching the Belize District just before midnight last night.

Andrea Polanco

“How would you categorize the winds that we experienced?”

Frank Tench

Frank Tench

“The winds measured here at the airport were in the vicinity of forty to fifty knots; that’s roughly between forty-five to fifty miles per hour. This wasn’t a tropical storm but if you were to compare the strength of the winds to a tropical storm, we were experiencing tropical storm force winds last night.”

Andrea Polanco

“What area was it that felt maybe the brunt of the squall line last night?”

Frank Tench, Forecaster

“Well from the reports we received so far, it appears to be portions of the northern Belize district and the Orange Walk district felt the brunt of the severe weather associated with this squall line but we still have to gather more reports before we can confirm that.”

Andrea Polanco

“The weather forecast called for isolated showers, developments in the north. What wasn’t expected was the intensity that we experienced last night here in the city.”

Frank Tench, Forecaster

“In terms of what we expected, the forecast was indicating the possibility for isolated showers and thunder storms over northern part of the country. Where we weren’t so accurate was indicating the intensity—how strong the winds were going to be, how severe the weather and rains associated with these thunder storms were going to be. And this always a challenge for forecaster—not only the Belize Met Service, but weather services worldwide—forecasting the intensity of weather systems is always the biggest challenge.”

Andrea Polanco

“A line squall; can this be expected due to the severe heat that we’ve had in the past couple months?”

Frank Tench, Forecaster

“The heat was a contributing factor in the development of the thunderstorms late yesterday evening. But in addition to that we had and we still have a surface draft over the north-west Caribbean and extending across western Cuba into the Bahamas. That feature provided the trigger for the development of the thunderstorms last night. In addition to that upper level conditions were quite favorable for the thunderstorms to develop over southern Mexico and the wind flow at mid levels served to move the storms from southern Mexico into our area.”

Andrea Polanco

“Is it possible then that we can expect to see something similar happen in the next few months?”

Frank Tench, Forecaster

“Well, we are in the hurricane season and severe weather is a common feature during this time of year. So I would say you’d have to be on guard for the likelihood of what are called meso-scaled features because these features are much smaller than the synoptic features say like a tropical wave or a tropical storm or a hurricane. But during the hurricane season these features can commonly occur.”

Predictions are that this year’s hurricane season will be active, with around thirteen named storms.

Channel 5


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