Is Hurricane Ivan a threat to Belize?
It's still a long way across the Caribbean but a look back into history, both near and far, tells us that Hurricane Ivan, located just north of the Dutch ABC Islands, bears close watching. News 5's Stewart Krohn did some research and found that the only thing we really know about hurricane forecasting...is that we don't know.
While conventional wisdom, not to mention the Weather Channel, invariably has hurricanes that begin in the Atlantic tracking to the north through Hispaniola, Jamaica or Cuba, a look at the paths of major storms affecting Belize shows that many stay on a westerly heading right up to landfall. The great-unnamed hurricane of 1931, for example, made only the gentlest of northerly swings before slamming into Belize City on September 10th. Hurricane Janet, in 1955, had almost the exact same origins as today’s Ivan, hitting both Barbados and Grenada before devastating Corozal Town . Hattie in 1961, proved that no hurricane can be trusted, as it made an abrupt left turn as if drawn by a magnet to the Belize coast. Even more erratic was the killer called Mitch that literally made a circle of devastation around Belize as if some unseen force ordained that 1998 would not be our year for pain. Our luck was short lived, of course, as Hurricane Keith pounded the north in 2000, Iris massacred the South in 2001 and Tropical Storm Chantal flooded Orange Walk and Corozal that same year. In 1974, Fifi and Carmen demonstrated that hurricanes can maintain long westerly tracks while Greta did the same thing in 1978. What all this data means is simply that even with all their satellites, radar and super computers, scientists still cannot tell us with much confidence where today’s hurricane will be in two or three days time.
Stewart Krohn for News 5.
The best website to find the tracks of past hurricanes is www.csc.noaa.gov.
Viewers are advised to pay close attention to the official forecasts from Belize's Meteorology Department, as, unlike U.S. based weather services, our experts are paying prime attention to Belize's interests and not those of Uncle Sam. By this time Thursday we should have a pretty good idea of what kind of plans we'll need to make for the long holiday weekend