Met Office: TD 2 Formed Unexpectedly
But first, we get the overview from the Met Department. They’ve been watching this Tropical Wave since last week – and were caught slightly off guard on the weekend when it formed into a depression 50 miles off the coast of Belize.
Today, Chief Met Officer Dennis Gonguez told us that the weather system has produced heavy, but not record rainfall.
Dennis Gonguez - Chief MET Officer
"As tropical depression #2 moves away, we're still getting some rainfall around the country. The numbers range from 2 1/2 inches in the north to about 3 1/2 inches in the west and as high as 7 inches in the south. This has led to some flooding in some sections in the southern parts of the country. In the past 24 hours since the system was called a tropical depression we were close to about 10 inches in the south, in the previous 24 hours we had about 3 inches in the south so we're pretty much close to 10 inches in the south to this time. We tend to focus on Tropical storms and hurricanes with their wind damage but however tropical depressions can provide us with copious amount of rainfall resulting in flooding."
"Sir, are you able to speak about the behavior of the system as it came on land at about 6pm yesterday?"
"Well the track took a little jog to the north, however from there it was difficult to identify a center, even presently today -the last bulletin in the last satellite pictures it was hard for us to identify the center of circulation. So the system is heading over land at this time and is quite possibly going to downgrade as a tropical wave before the day is out."
"Have we seen the worst of it?"
"Well we should start to see some improvements although it will continue wet for another two to three days, we won't see that copious amount of rain fall that we had on Sunday and Monday."
"Is it in usual behavior, typical behavior for a system to develop right on Belize's doorstep at this time of year?"
"The development of the system into a depression just about 50-60 miles from us was - we didn't expect it to develop into a depression so near to us. Even the folks at the National Hurricane Center in Miami had a 40% genesis potential on the system up to yesterday morning. Suddenly about 8;30 they called me and told me they were upgrading it to a Tropical Depression - so even the experts in Miami did not know it would have become a tropical depression."
Gonguez says when TD2 or what’s left of it re-emerges into the Bay of Campeche it could again be upgraded into a significant weather system.
Hope Creek Gets Flooded Again, This Time Residents Ready Tropical Depression two dropped about ten inches of rain in the south in 24 hours resulting in raised river levels, closed schools, people in shelters and collapsed culverts on the highway. The news tonight though is that in most areas, the water is receding and life is returning to normal.
But “normal” is a relative term for flood ravaged communities. Today, our news team trekked across many of the flood prone areas in the south – and we begin our coverage in Hope Creek where, at the height of the flood, 39 people were put in shelters.
Hope Creek, viewers will recall experienced vicious flash floods in 2008 leading to the loss of life. Well, this time, the water didn’t come in a flash, but it did flood and, it seems, they were ready. Our Daniel Ortiz and Codie Norales were thigh deep in the flood waters today – and they have this report..
Daniel Ortiz reporting
An uninformed observer maybe mistaken if they look at this area and concluded that it is some natural body of water. It's an actual street in the Hope Creek Village which was overrun by the flood waters from Tropical Depression 2.
That system dumped 10 inches of torrential rain on the village, swelling the North Stann Creek River until it sent that flood to the low lying areas of the village.
So where do the drains and yards intersect with the actual street? Only the villagers have an idea.
They gave us guided tour of the area. Our Cameraman had to get around in a makeshift raft they provided.
Rene Salguero Sr. - Resident, Hope Creek Village
"We actually stood on the culvert at the entrance of my house - this is the street and this is the entrance to my house. This is unbelievable what happened today, it is funny - I don't even know what to say because I feel bad."
Mariano Ack - Resident, Hope Creek Village
"This morning around 3a.m. the water was coming up very fast and it was higher and up to now it's just going down but it was higher this morning - higher above our heads because I'm five feet tall but it was higher than me. At this moment it's going down very slow."
Rene Salguero Sr
"This is Hope Creek but this is Salguero Street because we are Salguero but they have more people living here, the river isn't too far away maybe about 200 meters from here."
Salguero is one of the villagers most affected. The lower flat of his house is under water
We caught up with him as he was trying to fish his TV out of the street, now turned lake.
Rene Salguero Sr
"It's a nightmare here, I really can't explain what exactly happen. This is something with nature and last night it started around 6 yesterday evening and the water started to race and race, we didn't expect it to get this high. We usually get flooded here but not as high at this time so we didn't get a chance to take out everything out of the house, later on we will see all the losses that I have. I didn't sleep at all last night, I haven't even eaten as yet because we don't have anything to cook - everything is gone.
This is a real bad experience for all of us in this village and I really feel bad because everything is gone - even my truck broke down and you noticed my dog, I will have to take you in my room soon so that you can see the washing machine, the refrigerator. Nobody is here only I stayed because there are a lot of scavengers that would like to steal my stuff too, everything because my son lives downstairs and my wife, my other son and I live upstairs and when the water started to race it wasn't fast but we didn't expect it to get so high. We just monitored it and it was quick we didn't have time to do anything so as soon you will see I lost everything. I didn't insure anything because the last time I insured and the insurance didn't help me much so I decided to take it on my own and I will have to replace everything - I wish someone can help me. Every house is almost the same."
"So how many families have had to evacuate because of this unexpected flooding?"
Rene Salguero Sr
"Well everybody from this side had to go out, I think it's it was about 20 families that had to leave around 3a.m. Actually this storm passed here around 3:00 o'clock and blew the breeze maybe about 40 miles an hour but it passed hard so everybody had to leave."
And those people, erring on the side of caution, decided to evacuate to the Hope Creek Methodist School, the village's hurricane shelter.
Elroy Wade - Chairman, Hope Creek Village
"Most of the families here seeking shelter are the families that live near the river bank area and the back area of the village which is a low lying area. So these are the people that are seeking shelter right now. Most of the villagers knew about the weather that was passing. From around 3 o'clock yesterday, I gathered up my team and we had gone around the village and informing people of the situation. Everybody knows that Hope Creek is a place that is prone to flooding, it's not something strange to anyone. Yearly on the rainy season we get flooding all around."
"So how many families have decided to take refuge here, sir?"
"Presently we have 54 persons seeking shelter here right now."
But while the Hope Creek moved out, they were partially cut off from neighboring communities.
That's because the North Stann Creek River also inundated the Hummingbird Highway at different locations, but particularly at mile 5. Emergency personnel had to provide assistance to small vehicles to cross this flooded area.
Later on in the news, we’ll have more flood stories from Sarawee, Sittee and Dangriga.
Flood stories From Sarawee and Sitee As we showed you at the top of the Newscast, Hope Creek experienced flooding which affected the low-lying areas of the village, and forced 54 residents to evacuate to the hurricane shelter.
Well, Sarawee and Sittee River had their own share of flooding from Tropical Depression 2, and while on survey of the affected areas, we stopped in at both villages.
Here’s what one villager told us about how the rise in water surprised him, even though it was a weak storm:
Steven Emmanuel Sr. - Resident, Sarawee Village
"It started from about 10:00 and I went to my bed and took a little nap and when I woke up about 3 it went down about 3 - 4 inches and then this morning it came up back a little higher because it was 3 inch to enter my house and this morning when I noticed, it almost entered the house. This is the first time i see that it takes so long to go down."
"Was there anyone from Sarawee who had to evacuate from low lying areas which had dangerous experiences with flooding?"
Steven Emmanuel Sr.
"Yes they have a few people that live in the North west side and over there at the east side but not to evacuate out of the village, just to get to higher land in the same village."
"What you're looking at, is your yard and it looks like a pool."
Steven Emmanuel Sr.
"You know from 10:00 last night until now, normally 2-3 hours the water would run already."
"And that is the street outside we're looking at."
Steven Emmanuel Sr.
"Yes this is one street. I wonder if we're facing this problem now because I can remember many years and this didn't used to happen and I can remember that I don't really remember if it was (I don't want to call names) they dug out the bank side from the river and now the change now. Water used to pass by but not hanging like this."
"We understand this is just a depression, we can only imagine if it was a hurricane and if it was centralized in this area - flooding would have been uncontrollable, your house would have been under water as well."
Steven Emmanuel Sr.
"I guess so."
And while that was Sarawee, Sittee River Village also had minor effects of the storm, the most significant being that the river swelled over a section of the road, making it impassable by vehicles.
We caught up with a few villagers who were on duty to ferry people across, and they told us about what they experienced last night and this morning:
Marlon Reynaud - Resident, Sittee River Village
"This is from yesterday it came up high from this morning and by this afternoon it was already high and it will probably go down back by midday so we're just praying that it goes down back."
"How do you get people across one side of the street to the other side?"
"We use the canoe."
"To someone who doesn't know about this village or this road, where does the street start and where does the river start? If you look at it you wouldn't be able to tell the difference."
"Where we are now a vehicle length is the street and the river is right there, yyou will be able to tell the difference."
"But if you don't know where you are, you might step to the river bank and be washed away."
"You really have to know more or less or else you will go that way. You have to know how to drive on this road."
"Can vehicles really pass this way right now?"
"Only to the basketball court and that's it."