Over the weekend the District of Orange Walk was battered by heavy rains caused by the passing of a Tropical Wave. The downpour caused flooding in many areas across town and villages. Luckily, no injuries were recorded but a few families found the need to evacuate their homes. The torrential rains began shortly before midday on Friday and by three Saturday morning some residents were already experiencing flooding.

Screen_shot_2013-08-26_at_8.11.20_PMIrvin Aragon – Reporting

A torrent of heavy rain hit the northern part of the country on Friday night and most of Saturday morning causing the waters to rise rapidly thus posing a threat to residents living in flood prone areas. The heavy downpour flooded streets and yards. But to make matters worse, with nowhere else to go, the rising waters found its way into homes which as you can observe were left under one foot of water.

As Mother Nature continued to batter Orange Walk, DEMO was activated. The drains across town alleviated the flooding but as water rushed through them they converted into lagoons as the heavy downpour proved too much for them to bear. DEMO, along with the Orange Walk Town Council, including Mayor Kevin Bernard and Councilors, quickly assed the situation and ensured that those in need receive the necessary assistance. As the torrential rains continued drains were unclogged and at times it seemed as if that is was just not enough.

Elodio Aragon, Director, NEMO O/W & Corozal

“Well, most of the villages are affected but we have some of them that are more affected than others, for example we have the Carmelita area as a matter of fact I think we have ten houses under water and we have evacuated them and put them in to a shelter, the community center.  We have Guinea Grass and they have a couple of houses under water as well.  In San Lorenzo we had four houses but the chairman there have move them out and I must again refer back that the chairman in Carmelita has been doing a good job in evacuating the people and putting them into shelters, he has been giving me a tremendous amount of help there and in relation to other village we have, I mention Guinea Grass, and we have San Antonio, the problem in San Antonio is that the bridge, the water has gone beyond the bridge and therefore it is difficult for vehicles to come across, the only vehicle that can come across are the high vehicles.  In the rest of the villages I must say that we have problems but not as serious as the ones that we have been experiencing in San Antonio and Guinea Grass, Carmelita back here at Trial Farm, Black Water Creek and some areas in the Louisiana area.  The Mayor of the town and his workers by giving us a tremendous hand in town well he more or less is responsible for the town so he has been out there from early checking the houses that are flooded and seeing what can be done he has been doing a good job so I must say the Mayor has been handling the town, myself along with the coordinator Ms Celiz we are handling the villages.”

As we visited the flood prone areas, we came across what appeared to be a house in the middle of the sea. The Puma Gas Station located near the Chan Pine Ridge junction was seen one to two feet under water.

Residents of Black Water Creek suffered the same fate. Here, houses were surrounded by more than a foot of water and children had no other alternative but to step out of their homes until the waters receded.

In Yo Creek the torrential rains completely took over the village as the main road was covered with water and houses were inundated.

Heading to the Village of San Antonio the water had gone beyond the three feet marker causing trouble for small vehicles to go through. The good news though, was that if the situation worsened DEMO Orange Walk was ready to take action.

Elodio Aragon, Director, NEMO O/W & Corozal

“As I said we had a meeting eight o’clock this morning, everybody was told that they had to take care of their responsibilities for example the doctors, the committee for health, they had prepare the medicines they are ready to move on to, and will have to go into these village because after the flooding you know the villages that have a lot of floods, they have to get in there and ensure that no disease is spread and things like that so they have a job. Then transport, we have the transportation committee, they have their vehicles already on hand prepared that if the rain continues we would have to transport for example San Antonio we would have to supply boats, we have them already on hand but we have said we will wait this evening and if it begins to rain heavy again that means we have to begin to use boats but if doesn’t we believe that by tomorrow the water will be down and we don’t have to employ them.  Relief and supplies we have already located the food, every committee have already taken their responsibilities seriously. We have had a meeting with all the chairpersons of the different committees here in town and all of them know what they have to do already working on it.  I believe that everybody is responding to their responsibilities and I feel that we are top of the problem that we are facing right now, we believe that if it doesn’t rain hard any  more things will be ok, because the water is residing very quickly so that is good for us, probably a week form now we might experience flooding because of all the water running into the river, the New River and the Rio Hondo you know and that gives us seven days to worry about, to look into plan, but for now the flash flood because it started raining last night very heavy so from last night to this morning we got what you would call a flash flood and we got flash flood in the different villages and even the town. This morning when we got out at five I could tell the entire street here flooded with water and you can’t see the street.”

According to the National Meteorological Service of Belize, with the passing of the Tropical Wave, Orange Walk recorded three inches of rain.

Michael Gentle, Forecaster, National Meteorological Service

“Overnight Friday the wave moved over Belize into Guatemala, Yucatan southeasterly the air flow developed over your area and the showers started in the south at first but the southeasterly air flow produced the bulk of the showers over the central and northern parts of the country due to the direction of the wind and with the upper level bridge the tropical wave, it had considerable amount of rain fall over as I mentioned the central and northern areas of the country.”

Irvin Aragon –Reporter

“Ok now, you mentioned that basically it started out in the south and moved on to the north, how much inches of rain could you say that the north specifically Orange Walk experienced?”

Michael Gentle, Forecaster, National Meteorological Service

“Overnight Friday to Saturday morning, we had in excess of three inches of rainfall here at the airport, 85.4 mml of rainfall in twelve hours.”

Irvin Aragon –Reporter

“Ok, what does the future looks now in terms of, are there any tropical wave expected to occur that would bring such heavy rains specifically for the north?”

Michael Gentle, Forecaster, National Meteorological Service

“Ok, we have another tropical wave approaching  however, the projections presently are not with that amount of rainfall with this wave, the last wave was produce in deluge because it moved in along with upper level conditions, we have a level rich that provided the support, its undocumented that a wave even though it is a weak tropical system with the right conditions it could produce considerable rainfall but the next wave is not projecting anything near what this last tropical wave produced.”

The rains ceased on Saturday afternoon and the waters began residing quickly during the remaining part of the weekend. However, the damage remained evident in Villages such as Yo Creek, Trial Farm, and the Black Water Creek Area where many residents had to pay a visit to a hurricane shelter as their home was inundated by water.