Hurricane Keith position report, 8 pm Miami time
Sunday night: These Hurricane Net reports use Miami time. So Belize time is one or two hours different.
Eleven hours and counting that San Pedro and Caye Caulker have been sitting in the fierce winds of the Eye Wall of Hurricane Keith.
Reports from Caye Caulker indicate a number of houses have been blown apart. Once the roof goes, the rest follows quickly. Still not safe to walk outside for wind and flying debris. Some parts of Caye Caulker are under water, the low spots and the west side of the island.
Poles, wires, cables, roofs, fences, you name it, the place is littered with zinc and trees and other debris. The winds are still Hurricane Force 2.
The Eye of Keith has drifted slowly westward about 4 miles in the last few hours. It is now between Congrejo Caye and covers the north half of Caye Caulker. Congrejo Caye is at the southern tip of Ambergris Caye and about 2 miles from San Pedro Town.
Both towns are getting clobbered. There is not so much a storm surge and high tidal wave, but more just the wind in the hurricane eye wall. For about 4 to 8 miles out from the eye wall you get the strongest winds. They can steady at 90 mph but gust quickly to 125 mph hour, tearing apart houses in the gusts. They tend to run in streaks. If you get hit by a streak, too bad for your tree, or house. The Eye of Keith has buried both San Pedro and Caye Caulker in the fierce eye wall wind gusts of extreme hurricane force. No reports of injuries yet.
It is hoped the drift to the west will continue and the eye will be over land by morning. Such a result would enable fast speedboats from Belize City to carry eight teams composed of four men each and tools to do the job with 3 days rations from our famous Belize Defense Force military units. This should be right down their alley for both Caye Caulker and San Pedro. Eight teams per town. Reconstruction and assistance to go fast, with rapid response by our own military. Send the bill to somebody like the UK or USA. If a casino hotel can get a foreign indebtedness of $50 million for Mexicans in the Corozal Free Zone, then certainly a million for supplies, tools and work crews by the BDF is a proper use of foreign debt loans. Might even be able to write it off, against foreign debt. You can't get much poorer than being wiped out by Hurricane Keith.
Speaking from memory, the villagers of Caye Caulker rebuilt 49 houses out of 93 demolished in one month with tools supplied by Governor Thornly at the time after Hurricane Hattie in 1961. About the time the houses got finished we saw our first local government representative, which was Louise Sylvester of the PUP. Lets hope the PUP are faster off the mark this time.
Fast mobile response, I hope the Brigadier General of the BDF gets his instructions from the politicians and is working all night tonight Sunday night, getting the tools and supplies from hardware stores with blank government list vouchers. The maritime wing should be ready to go in the morning. Or within a couple hours of the eye of Keith moving over the mainland. Get those Hardware Store managers out of bed mon! Thats what we did in Hurricane Hattie. Had to stick a bayonet from a British Soldier in the manager's belly from Hofius Hardware, to get what we needed, but it happened. With cellular phone service as well, other needed supply lists can be called in by Wednesday morning of reconstruction. By then the island town streets should be cleared with work teams. Probably going to need house jacks, crowbars, sledgehammers, chain saw, ropes, block and tackles, or winches. By Wednesday you will need nails, hammers, saws, generators. Send the troops out mon! This is!
what they are for! ( One of the reasons anyway!)