Hurricane Dean is now history ... for Belize at least, and the story tonight is not what Dean did ... but what it didn’t do. Considering that the monster category five storm, packing one hundred and sixty-five mile per hour winds, made landfall just north of Chetumal, we would not have been surprised to hear this morning that half our country was on its knees. In fact, while the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts, along with San Pedro, did suffer some selective damage, there was no loss of life and those affected communities should bounce back quickly. Today News Five’s crews were out assessing damage and looking for the human side of the story. But first, we travelled to the Ladyville headquarters of the National Meteorological Service where Acting Chief Meteorologist Ramon Frutos offered News Five’s Kendra Griffith a recap of Dean’s brush with Belize.
Ramon Frutos, Acting Chief Met. Officer
“South of the eye where it made landfall, that is the Chetumal area and the Corozal town area and adjacent villages of the Corozal district, definitely they experienced some very high winds, probably with gusts in excess of ninety knots in some cases. We did receive a report of some gusts of a hundred knots in northern Corozal. ... As you move further south, for example here at the airport and in the Belize City area, we were experiencing wind speed of thirty-eight miles per hour or forty miles per hour at times here from the west and the southwest around that time also.”
“The damage in the Belize City area was not that significant and also as you can recall, we were expecting quite a lot of rain associated with this system also and that did not really materialise totally, even though we got some torrential downpour. If you can recall around two o’clock, three o’clock in the morning Belize City was getting some heavy rainfall. The same thing was happening here and in the northern part of the country. However, because of the fast movement of this system across the coastline and inland, most of the shower activity was short-lived. This was already anticipated from Sunday night and we were indicating in some interviews that yes, the impact could be very strong, catastrophic, but it will be very short lived and that’s what happened in the case of the rainfall. ... So the flash flooding that we were expecting, for example, the pooling of water in the Belize City area producing local flood conditions in the low lying areas of Belize City and the highways leading out of Belize City did not really materialise because the rainfall that we were expecting for Belize City did not occur. However in the northern part of the country, yes, they continued to experience quite a lot of rainfall. It’s possible that some areas did have some flooding, but not life threatening.”