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Marty Offline OP
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The 2010 Hurricane Season for the Tropical Atlantic ends today. With the amount of named storms, this year's hurricane season is the third highest on record.  In mid-October Hurricane Richard tore through central Belize leaving millions of dollars in destruction in its wake. Love News spoke by telephone with the Chief Meteorologist Dennis Gonguez and asked him to summarize this year's Hurricane season.

Dennis Gonguez; Chief Meteorologist

"I would sum it up in two words; very active. This year we saw the development of about nineteen named systems of which twelve of which became hurricane and five of those were major hurricanes. That means they achieved category three, four or five status. If we compare that with the long term average, the long term average is for ten named storms, six to become hurricanes and two of those to become major hurricanes so this has been a very active season particularly in the North West Caribbean, in our neck of the woods."

Hurricane Richard devastated citrus orchards in the south and destroyed homes and neighborhoods in the Belize district and in particular south side Belize City. Gonguez says there are important lessons to be learned from this experience.

Dennis Gonguez

"The major lesson is that we are not immune to them and we can see what destruction at least a category one can do so we can now stretch our imaginations to think what a category two, three or four or what level of destruction could be expected from a higher category system."

Patrick Jones, Reporter

Given the fact that we now know what destruction a hurricane can do to a nation like Belize, what should we be doing now at the end of the 2010 hurricane season?

Dennis Gonguez

"My advice is usually at the hurricane season we should start reviewing the performance of our hurricane emergency plans. What were the weaknesses of these plans? In the off season now we look to how to improve on our hurricane plan so that next season we don't get caught off guard."

For its part, Gonguez says the Weather Bureau performed well this year in keeping the nation informed on weather conditions.

Dennis Gonguez

"I was pleasantly satisfied with the performance of the National Meth Service. We performed fairly well, we had a few internal problems which I was hope to deal with in the off season but besides that we did pretty good."

Patrick Jones, Reporter

And the addition of the Doppler Radar did that help?

Dennis Gonguez

"That was the biggest tool that assisted us. We could have tracked the systems as they entered the range of the radar and we could have pin pointed almost where they would have made land fall and the impacts of the systems on Belize."

Patrick Jones, Reporter

The hurricane season officially comes to an end today does that mean that we are out of the woods?

Dennis Gonguez

"Not exactly there is a system down near Panama, it only has a 10% chance of development because it's pretty close to land but none the less there is still something in the south western Caribbean."

Other notable storms of the 2010 Hurricane season include Tomas that killed several people in St Lucia and Haiti and also caused substantial damage in a number of south-eastern Caribbean islands. Tropical Storm Nicole was blamed for deaths and destruction in Jamaica. And Hurricane Igor knocked out power to half of Bermuda but spared the British territory major damage or injuries.


Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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The end of the 2010 Hurricane Season

The 2010 hurricane season officially ends today. During the months of June to November, there were three scares but the category one hurricane called Richard hit Belize hard when it was least expected. Millions of dollars were racked up in damages and there was loss of life. The worst is over and News Five' Delahnie Bain found out that the season was as busy as anticipated.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

We can all breathe a sigh of relief because the 2010 hurricane season officially closes today. And it certainly lived up to predictions for an active season; beaten only by the seasons of 1995 and 1887 for the most named storms.

Dennis Gonguez, Chief Meteorologist

Dennis Gonguez

"This season we saw nineteen named storms, twelve of those became hurricanes and of those twelve five were intense hurricanes; major hurricanes category three four or five. In a normal year we would get ten named systems, six of which would be hurricanes and two of those would be major systems. So this was a very active year particularly over the northwestern Caribbean in our neck of the woods."

Our first threat, Tropical Storm Alex, came in mid June, bringing heavy wind and rains, but not much damage.

Dennis Gonguez

"On the twenty-sixth of June at about six p.m. Tropical Storm Alex, the first named system of the season made landfall in Belize just about twenty miles or so north of Belize City and at the time of landfall it had about sixty-five miles per hour winds. Destruction from Alex was fairly minimal. It was a very large system."

Karl and Matthew were next in line. They passed within ten days of each other, but they too were all breeze and no bite.

Dennis Gonguez

"On the fifteenth of September, Tropical Storm Karl made landfall just to the north of the country of Belize-just to the north of Chetumal city-it had about forty miles per hour winds at landfall and tropical storm Karl did not any significant impact on Belize except in the extreme north of the country where we had some closure of the Corozal Freezone. Tropical Storm Matthew, another week system made landfall just around Monkey River in the south. The major effect from Tropical Storm Matthew was three to seven inches of rainfall that affected the southern parts of the country and resulted in minor to moderate flooding in that area."

After being spared a third time, residents let their guard down and then came hurricane Richard. That was the storm that pummeled central and southern Belize.

Dennis Gonguez

"On the evening of Sunday October twenty-fourth, hurricane Richard made landfall just to the south of Belize City, about twenty miles or so to the south of Belize City near the Galespoint area. It cut a path directly west across the country, maintaining its strength all the way to the Guatemalan border. Richard was a system that caused major structural damage; much of the country we know was out of power for some time. The citrus industry, the citrus crops were all blown off the trees and we know the misery that hurricane Richard caused with the destruction of homes in its path. Most importantly, it caused two loss of lives. We have to check on our hurricane plans. How did those plans work out this season? What changes can we make to have those plan work even more efficiently in the next hurricane season coming up?"

So as the season closes, the rebuilding and restoring continues to normalize life in the hardest hit areas. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

While he advised the public to review their hurricane plans, the Chief Meteorologist also noted that the National Met Service is fine-tuning its own preparation for the 2011 season.

Channel 5

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