The National Hydrological Service hereby updates the public on river conditions in the country and issues the following:
REGION 7 The RIO HONDO at Blue Creek, Santa Cruz, San Antonio, San Roman, Douglas, and downstream to the coast, and on the NEW RIVER at Tower Hill and Caledonia, FLOOD LEVELS are expected.
REGION 9 On the MOPAN RIVER at Benque Viejo Town, normal levels are expected. On the MACAL RIVER, reservoir levels at all BECOL facilities are expected to remain below the spillways; and at San Ignacio, levels are expected to remain below the low-level bridge.
On the BELIZE RIVER at Double Run, normal levels are expected; and, on the CROOKED TREE LAGOON, levels have exceeded Hurricane Keith levels and continue to increase, approaching the causeway. FLOOD LEVELS are expected.
REGION 11 On the SIBUN RIVER at Freetown Sibun, FLOOD LEVELS expected to continue to increase. Levels have exceeded Hurricane Keith levels and continue to rise. On the SOUTHERN LAGOON at Gales Point Village, expect above-normal levels.
In watersheds on the EASTERN SLOPES OF THE MAYAN MOUNTAINS, and on the SITTEE RIVER at Kendal Bridge, above-normal levels are expected. On the Swasey and Bladen branches of the MONKEY RIVER, and on the DEEP RIVER at Medina Bank, normal levels are expected.
On the RIO GRANDE at San Pedro Columbia and Big Falls South, normal levels are expected.
On the MOHO RIVER at Blue Creek South and Jordan, normal levels are expected.
On the TEMASH RIVER at Crique Sarco, normal levels are expected.
REGION 13 On the SARSTOON RIVER, normal levels are expected.
The next Flood Forecast will be issued on Monday, August 22, 2022.
Mariners are hereby advised that a salvage operation has commenced on 18 August, 2022, in the Placencia area at coordinates 16°27’53.94”N & 088°23’8.391” W of Harvest Caye. The salvage operations with approval from the Belize Port Authority will be conducted by R & B Development Company in an effort to remove a wreck from the seabed. The Belize Port Authority will be overseeing the operation to ensure that all regulations and safety measures are strictly adhered to when removing the wreck.
The salvage operations will be ongoing for approximately (08) eight days. Mariners are to operate with extreme caution when traversing in this area.
For any concerns or additional information, please contact the Belize Port Authority at: Tel: 222-5666 Email: [email protected]
NEW CONTROLLED PRICES FOR LIQUEFIED PETROLEUM GAS (LPG)
The Supplies Control Unit (SCU) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise hereby informs the general public that effective Saturday, August 20th, 2022, new fixed controlled prices will be introduced for the sale of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). This change now reflects the sale by wholesale volume and retail sale by volume in both urban and rural areas.
These prices reflect a decrease of BZ$0.11 per gallon for the current shipment resulting primarily from a decrease in the acquisition price of propane.
The National Celebration Commission has a lot of great events planned around Belize for its 41st Independence Day.
September is almost here and for Belizeans that translates to national celebrations. From the much-loved fire engine parade to a tribute to the legendary Lord Rhaburn, the National Celebrations Commission (NCC) is excited to roll out a full calendar of events, featuring traditional activities and new additions, to commemorate Belize's 41st anniversary of Independence. Hon. Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education, Culture, Science & Technology and the chair of the NCC, shared all the details on what Belizeans can expect after two years of limited celebrations.
Mayor Wally Nunez and the San Pedro Town Council are proud to present the new “San Pedro Soca Festival” being held between Sept 16 to Sept 21. The aim is to bring economic benefit to the island during a time that is historically our tourism slow season. Hotels that will be providing discounted rates during the Septemeber Celebrations can submit the details using the below online form so we can assist in promoting the specials.
Councillor Dianeli Aranda with the portfolio of Women, Youth and Children is now welcoming new applications to the Low Cost Food Program. The cost of the grocery bag is $25. We acknowledge the recent increases in the cost of goods and we are trying our best to help those that are finding it even more difficult now to keep up with the cost of living during these times.
The storm area, called INVEST 99L is moving into the Gulf, leaving dry air behind, so no rain on the Radar this morning, but significant cloud around, so with the easterly Caribbean winds, we will have a fair bit of cloud.
Looks as if today will be a mixture of sun and cloud for much of the day, but probably no rain. No rain on the Radar
Last Night 25 °C 76 °F Yesterday max. 29 °C 84 °F Yesterday Rain 38 mm ( 1.5 " ) Over Night Rain 0 mm ( 0 " ) Humidity 91 % Pressure 1003 mBar ( 29.6" ) Very Low
Tropical wave is already heading to the Gulf of Mexico, along with its associated low pressure. It left torrential rains on the Peninsula that accumulated up to 188.3 mm in Dzilam Bravo, Yucatán and 132.3 mm in Chetumal. The active tropical wave will exit Campeche Bay forming a low pressure center the chances have increased up to 40% for 5 days.
For further information on tropical conditions, check the daily Tropical Weather Outlook, click here
Ambergris Caye: Conditions this morning by Elbert just after this post!
Present Condition: Cloudy in the south, mostly clear in the north. Mostly clear with a few clouds in San Pedro. Generally fair weather prevails.
Advisories: None. A flood warning is in effect for flood prone and low lying areas, especially in central and northern areas of the country.
Sunny with cloudy spells with isolated showers or thunderstorms.
Winds: E, 10-20 kts
Waves: 3-5 ft
Sea Surface Temperature (°f): 85
For Saturday and Saturday night is for isolsted showers or thunderstorms, but slightly more will develop over the southern districts Saturday night.
Sargassum Forecast from August 16 to August 24:
There is a medium chance that beaches across the country could be affected by more Sargassum mats coming ashore during the next few days. San Pedro has a medium probability with a moderate impact.
Tropical Weather Outlook:
A broad area of low pressure is emerging over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and this system has a medium chance of becoming a tropical depression during the next 48 hours.
Click for more of the tropical weather outlook...
Phoenix Resort in San Pedro
View at the airport/sunset
The Caribbean Sea
There are two tropical wave in the Atlantic, and none in the Caribbean.
Enhanced by an upper-level trough near central Cuba, convergent
trades are generating scattered showers south of Cuba and near
The Atlantic ridge extending southwestward from the 1028 mb Azores
High continues to channel NE to E trades across the entire basin.
Fresh to locally strong NE winds and 6 to 8 ft seas over the
south-central basin, just north of Colombia. Gentle to moderate
ENE to E winds and seas at 2 to 4 ft exist at the northwestern
basin. Moderate to fresh easterly winds and seas of 4 to 6 ft
prevail for the remainder of the basin, including the Gulf of
For the forecast, the Atlantic ridge north of the region will
continue to support fresh to strong winds in the south-central
and portions of the SW Caribbean through Sat, then gradually
weaken through Mon. A broad tropical wave will enter the eastern
Caribbean today, and the central Caribbean tonight/Sat.
32° C 89° F
27° C 81° F
34° C 93° F
23° C 74° F
27° C 80° F
20° C 68° F
TIDES, SUNRISE & MOONRISE:
Low: 10:35 AM
High: 4:14 PM
Low: 9:34 PM
High: 3:35 AM (Sat)
Sunrise: 5:36 AM
Moonset: 12:33 PM
Sunset: 6:15 PM
Moonrise: 11:54 PM
Four Day Weather Outlook:
250 Km Radar Picture
(Time Label on picture is GMT. Local time is GMT-6 Hours)
Two persons lost their lives overnight. Separate murders occurred in the Finca Solana area of Corozal and in the Capital City of Belmopan. Then, an elderly woman perished in a fire out west in San Ignacio. We head north to Corozal where an American man was murdered as he exited his vehicle at home. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
U.S. national Rodney Wayne Rushing had just arrived home when he came under attack by at least 1 human who opened fire at him. He was hit multiple times to the head, back, abdomen, right leg and thumb. Residents say they heard up to nine shots.
Voice of: Resident, Finca Solana Area
“This happen like round seventy thirty to eight o clock and we mih deh in side when we hya well my parents hya when he scream, but he neva scream that loud and right after he scream tha nothing long and then they shoot ah. We hya like nine gun shots and we come out. We try see if we could help. I mih feel like tha he shoot the bandits them, but tha neva that. Tha he dey mih shoot. We hya dih .nine shots when they shoot.”
A police officer attached to the Special Patrol Unit, who lives in proximity to the property had just arrived home and rushed to the scene to find the sixty-six-year-old face down in front of his Hyundai SUV dead. The vehicle was still running and the driver’s door was open.
Voice of: Resident
“We just arrive. Just drive in and come out and ih look like dey mih dih wait fih ah or something….”
“Inside his yard”
Voice of: Resident
“Inside his yard, yeah.”
“You said you guys ran to see if you could of helped?”
Voice of: Resident
“By the time we reach he’s laying on the ground. He was already gone. Right now it’s frightening because my mom is frightened…my little boy that is five years he got frightened last night; he can’t sleep. So much gunshots he can’t sleep. My sister got frightened.
“Are you guys now maybe putting up like how you secure your place…or so?”
Voice of: Resident
“Put more lights, we can’t stay just like that we didn’t see face, nothing.”
Rushing lives alone inside the house which residents say he has been renting for about two months now. He is originally from Alabama and did not socialize with his neighbors.
Voice of: Resident
“We don’t know. This is our neighbours yard and they left like two months ago and he came and he rent the house, so they are not here. They are in the U.S. and he started to rent but he don’t talk to anybody in the neighbourhood. He just drives in drives out and he goes. We didn’t met him like face to face nothing.”
“We understand that he has dogs, so it’s not likely that whoever killed him was inside the house”
Voice of: Resident
“Well apparently I didn’t see the dog last night, but they had to take them out of the house. Thye have two pitbull and they are aggressive. Nobody can go inside because they tried to take them out lastnight. The police was at the door and that’s when the dog like he want to bite.”
At this time, robbery is not suspected because Rushing”s personnel items, including his wallet, were found at the scene. There were no signs of forced entry into the home and all doors were locked. A motive has not been established at this time.
This morning, after hours of non-stop rain, many Belizeans in central and northern areas woke up to flood waters at their doorsteps. Heavy thunderstorms dumped massive rainfall on large parts of the country, causing sudden flooding.
Some of those flood waters caused substantial damage to a portion of the Philip Goldson Highway, which we'll tell you about.
We start first on our coverage of the storm with comments from the Chief Meteorologist, Ronald Gordon. He held a press briefing via zoom, where he explained that a tropical wave passing over the country was the primary cause of the deluge:
Ronald Gordon - Chief Meteorologist, National Met Service "We were monitoring a tropical wave that approached the country and crossed overnight; I would say a strong tropical wave. The system began affecting Belize as of yesterday morning, with showers and thunderstorms affecting mainly southern parts of the country at first and then spreading to other parts of the country yesterday afternoon, which was August 17th. Showers and thunderstorms increased overnight; numerous showers and thunderstorms actually affected Central and Coastal areas in the beginning and then moved up towards the north of the country this morning. Currently, we still have some lingering showers and areas of light rain over the extreme north of the country, while most other parts of the country have little rainfall at the moment, except for - I would say - cloudy to overcast skies remaining over other parts. For the most part, the shower activity has moved further north and west as the tropical wave moves away. The system, as I said, was quite strong and has had upper-level support - as we call it to produce intense thunderstorms. Not to get too technical, but we refer to that type of system as a mesoscale convective system, where thunderstorms basically re-develop over and over again over the same area producing torrential rainfall and intense lightning activity. The records from our weather stations indicate we had upwards of 5 inches of rainfall over the Belize City/Ladyville area. From the latest observations I've seen, I actually saw up to 7 inches of rainfall affecting us here at the airport, and that's between midnight and about midday today, which is a 12-hour timespan. To put it in perspective, we recorded at the airport - and this is perhaps one of the most reliable stations that we have. We recorded about 185 millimeters of rainfall over the past 12 hours, and that is extremely high. The rainfall average for this station is around 190 millimeters for the month of August. So again, similar to a situation we saw last month, their station in the north recorded almost the total rainfall in a month in a very short period; again, we have that situation occurring with this recent tropical wave. I guess most people saw it on social media. There was some flooding across the country, and there was some damage to our infrastructure, especially when it comes to our roads and culverts in some areas."
Dams Stable During Heavy Rains
With all the flooding - some in the west were concerned about a rush of water spilling out of the dams on the Macal river. Well, Fortis Belize, the company formerly known as BECOL which operates the Mollejon, Vaca and Chalillo dams sent out a release today to ease the publics concerns. It says operations at the dams remain normal, and, quote, "despite the recent extreme amount of rainfall and a rise in reservoir levels, there have been no spills so far this year."
The release adds however that a "spill event" caused by extreme weather conditions is therefore considered a routine part of operations, during the rainy season and is managed in a controlled manner.
Water levels are constantly monitored and communicated to NEMO.
Strong Tropical Wave Causes Multiple Thunderstorms across Belize
The system that crossed Belize overnight was a strong tropical wave that dumped more rainfall in some parts of the country in a twelve-hour period than it normally does in an entire month. The system has now moved west of Belize, and weather conditions are expected to improve. Chief Meteorologist, Ronald Gordon explained the system that affected us between Tuesday and today.
Ronald Gordon, Chief Meteorologist
“We refer to that type of system as a meso-scale convective system where thunder storms basically redevelop over and over again over the same area, producing torrential rainfall and intense lightening activity. The records from our weather stations indicate that we had upwards of five inches of rainfall over the Belize City-Ladyville area, from the latest observations I’ve seen. I actually saw up to seven inches of rainfall affecting us here at the airport and that’s between midnight and about midday today. That is extremely high. The rainfall average for this station is around one hundred and ninety milliliters for the month of August. So again, similar to a situation we saw last month, where a station in the north recorded almost the total rainfall for a month in a very short period, again we have this situation occurring with this recent tropical wave. It’s very interesting, I would say, that we have been seeing these exceptionally high amount of rainfall occurring in these very short periods of time. Of course that would lead to the type of flooding that you see. Typically, you’d expect rainfall to be more uniform and distributed across the month, but we’re seeing in recent trends that we get these torrential downpours occurring over a very short period of time. It’s definitely not the first one we have seen in August. I have recalled some Augusts from memory, where we had this type of activity before and you have these relentless thunder storms that persist over an area and produce these types of torrential rainfall. It’s not the first time and August is the month of the year, from a climatological perspective, where we have the most thunderstorms and lightning activity over Belize.”
Gordon advised people to stay alert since the hurricane season usually gets more active later in the season.
Earlier in the news, we showed you how the non-stop rain, caused by a passing tropical wave, caused flooding in different parts of Central and Northern Belize, damaging crucial public infrastructure.
The bad weather also caused another mishap in the Bay of Chetumal, 1 mile away from Chetumal. That's where a water taxi belonging to the Water Jets International water taxi ended up stranded with 60 passengers on board.
The boat's crew then secured the vessel and requested the help of the Mexican Navy to escort them and their passengers safely into the harbor at Chetumal. This morning, we got a chance to speak with the Belize Coast Guard's operations officer. He shared a few details with us about the report they received from the Coast Guard's counterparts in Mexico about the successful search and rescue mission:
Lieutenant Kenrick Thomas - Operations Officer, Belize Coast Guard "Last night, our Operations Center received information from the Mexican Navy of a distress call within their sea spaces. It was reported to us that their response lead to a successful search and rescue operation. The information shared with us was that sometime after seven last night, the Mexicans reported the captain of the vessel, Water Jets International, arrived at the pier in Chetumal and reported that on his voyage from San Pedro to Chetumal, his vessel experienced mechanical problems, which forced him to anchor one nautical mile off the coast of Chetumal. He informed the Mexican authorities that onboard the vessel were 67 persons, inclusive of passengers and crew, and they are requesting assistance to be brought into Mainland Chetumal. As part of their standard operating practice, the Mexican went into operation and reported to us that they were successful in doing so. They had in place ambulances and medics ready to provide assistance to the passengers and crew. However, they reported to us that all persons were accounted for, reportedly in good health, and needed no such assistance. At this time, the only information we received [is] that the vessel experienced mechanical problems, whited forced them to anchor the vessel. So, that means that the vessel then became dead in the water, and they couldn't continue with their voyage through to Chetumal. In the case of this, we're talking about just one nautical mile off the coast of Chetumal. We know that the conditions were not favorable. However, a large platform as such would not have experienced many difficulties with the sea state and the sea conditions."
Last night, TV Azteca Quintana Roo, was at the Chetumal's seafront, and they got a chance to speak with the boat's captain. With English translations, here's a snippet of what he told them about their mechanical difficulties while at sea:
Adolpho Acevedo - Boat Captain "The situation occurred because of inclement weather, the rain, the trip. They had a little bit of water in the vent for the gas tank. And that was the cause of the mechanical failure of the engine, which made it shut down. So, we proceeded to anchor, but we were already close to Chetumal, like 3 minutes away."
The boat captain told the Mexican news reporter that his passengers were distressed by the ordeal, but the Mexican authorities were able to calm them down and get them safely to land last night.
For the past two nights - we've taken you inside the David L McKoy building - showing you why it's costing 3 million dollars more - of workers' money to retrofit a structure that was declared open in June of 2021.
But, is all that money spent - which will total at 11.1 million dollars really worth it? That is, will contributors take a loss? In part 3, Jules Vasquez gets to the meat of the matter:
Lateral stability - that's what these cross braces are supposed to provide to the David L McKoy building. They were installed along the length and across the width of the building to brace it laterally. And then this brace frame is built on the back - the structure - the engineers say will, quote, "transfer all lateral loads here in the event of a category 3 hurricane or earthquake."
It's a freakish structure - jammed unto the back of the building like a bulging spine - but it is being maximized to create more office space for the tenants who've already rented space in the building.
Roberto Allen - the engineer who was the Contract Administrator for the Social Security Board scoffed at the structure and all the retrofitting - he told us on the phone that it's overkill. He says the size of the steel structure alone gives it stability.
It was his duty to report on the works to the former SSB Building Committee - but the relationship between him and Fabros Construction was contentious. These emails obtained by 7News show some of his reservations.
Much of the discord was over what are known as variation orders - basically requests for more money to complete the project. At least four of them came - like this one for three quarters million dollars - and board member Juliet Thimbriel says she cursed at each one. She felt that the contractor had underbid - and was then adding charges retroactively.
This internal SSB email also expresses concerns about another further payment, saying for this variation requesting 181 thousand dollars more that too much money had been paid out to Fabro. The author notes that materials were not on site or in transit.
This document shows the original contract price and the cost of variation #3 - almost a million dollars. It shows a contractor either in over his head - or who could not deliver the building for the price he bid at. For his part Fabro said that the design was flawed and the modifications he had to make were to correct it during construction.
He later wrote to the SSB, "there is no denying that the improvements are excellent and should have been included in the building plans from the very start." Fabro also says that Allen failed to report to the board many difficulties he encountered with the design. When it was installed, the new board terminated Allen:
Lawrence Ellis, Director - SSB Board "When we came on board and our initial meeting, we met with the project administrator and the contractor to familiarize ourselves and after a couple of meetings we realized that we are not on the same page. And the fact that the building was still not finished because it was supposed to have been finished already and when we're trying to get answers as to why it was not finished yet, we found that there were many delays and many things that were not up to standard."
Not up to standard - but they may have had a different standard in mind - because the design specifications did not include fireproofing or fire hydrants, for example. And the design also did not say that it had to be resistant to a category 3 storm and an earthquake - the type which has never hit Belmopan.
Reporter "Are you all in effect trying to improvise and rigamajig the structure?"
Lawrence Ellis, Director - SSB Board "No, it's not rigamajig, it's works that should've been done initially. It's just being done now. The building is safe, it's going to be safe and we are not throwing good after bad, this building will be profitable, this building is going to be a shining benefit for the contributors of this social security fund."
All that will cost Social Security just under 3 million dollars more of workers' money. Which does not include the repairs that Fabros Construction has to do as part of the Defects Liability period - such as sealing this roof - and fixing cracks in the cement:
Deborah Ruiz, CEO - Social Security Board "We have because of the heat; a couple windows have shattered and things like that. The contractor has been making those repairs."
Still, despite all this, Ruiz says she is confident that the workers will get a fair return on their investment:
Deborah Ruiz, CEO - Social Security Board "We would have realized our full in 7 years so it's just pushed back 10 years in the long term a building of this magnitude will last another 50 to 60 years of rental income."
Reporter "Are you all throwing good after bad?"
Lawrence Ellis, Director - SSB Board "No, definitely not, you only throw good money after bad when there will never be a good outcome. This building will have a good outcome, this building will have a profitable return for the long-term branch, this building will be beneficial for the people that pay into the fund."
And in the conclusion tomorrow night, Jules Vasquez presents the conclusions, the bottom line of all that went wrong at David L McKoy - plus, he'll ask those tough questions you've been waiting for.
As of Thursday evening there was rotation, anticlockwise rotation in that weather going away from us.
Thursday, August 18th 2022. 6:00 pm Update
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK:
The tropical wave that affected Belize is now over southeastern Mexico and is expected to emerge into the Bay of Campeche tomorrow. This system has a medium chance of becoming a tropical depression during the next 48 hours, as it continues to progress northwestward, away from Belize.
GENERAL WEATHER FORECAST:
Moist and unstable conditions prevail over the area, but rainfall activity has significantly decreased over the country...
The 24-hr fcst is for skies to be mostly cloudy tonight and sunny with cloudy spells tomorrow. A few showers and isolated thunderstorms will occur mainly over the southern districts and some central areas tonight. Otherwise, showers will be isolated.
A flood warning remains in effect for low-lying and flood prone areas, especially over northern and central areas.
Low temps tonight will range from 80F along the coast, 73 inland, and 68 in the hills. High temps tomorrow will peak near 89F along the coast, 93 inland, and 80 in the hills.
BEL Encourages Precaution during Severe Weather
As a result of the tropical wave currently affecting the country, many communities are experiencing heavy rains, rising water levels and flooding, as well as other weather-related impacts. We remind the public to monitor weather reports and forecasts and to take safety precautions during severe weather.
During stormy weather, lightning strikes or tree branches near power lines often make contact with power lines, resulting in outages. In these circumstances, protection devices on the power system activate automatically as a safety mechanism, causing intermittent outages to prevent damage to BEL’s power supply system and customers’ appliances and equipment, and to protect employees, customers, and the public from electric shock.
In most cases, power supply is restored automatically (in a few seconds), while, in other cases, our teams may need to be dispatched to physically identify and rectify the cause of the power outage. Once our teams are dispatched, power restoration may take longer than usual since they must take extra precautions when working in wet conditions, especially during the nighttime, and are not allowed to work on power lines during rain or lightning or in any condition that may compromise their safety.
If you are experiencing flooding, please do not walk into any area or water that may be connected to an electrical source. Always stay far away from fallen power lines and assume that all wires hanging or on the ground are electrically charged.
BEL remains committed to safely delivering reliable service, and encourage the public to report hazards or damages to the power system by calling 0-800-BEL-CARE / 0-800-235-2273 or message us on Facebook or via WhatsApp at the following numbers:
613-0672 Belize District 613-0673 Corozal & Orange Walk Districts 613-0674 Cayo District 613-0675 Stann Creek & Toledo Districts 613-0676 Cayes
Present Condition: Cloudy and rainy as a tropical storm moves through. Cloudy with rain in San Pedro. Moist and unstable conditions linger. Small craft caution for gusty winds and locally rough seas near heavy showers and thunderstorms. There is the possibility of strong thunderstorms being accompanied by heavy rainfall and damaging winds. A flood warning is in effect for flood prone and low lying areas, especially in central and northern areas of the country.
24hr Forecast: Mostly cloudy with a few showers, periods of rain and isolated thunderstorms mainly over northern and central areas this afternoon and mainly over the southern districts tonight. Showers will be isolated elsewhere.
Outlook: Between Friday afternoon and Saturday midday is for isolated showers or isolated thunderstorms, except for slightly more over the southern districts Friday night.
Intense tropical wave is currently crossing the Peninsula.