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#414418 - 08/21/11 08:47 AM TORNADO IN CROOKED TREE VILLAGE  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,785
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
The Westby's  Former Residence
The family of Edward “King” Westby of Crooked Tree Village is lucky to be alive tonight when a water spout turned tornado struck their home this morning. The Westby's were inside their bedroom, and survived the ordeal, but their home was totally destroyed.
Edward 'King' Westby
The tornado was the result of tropical storm Harvey, and the severe thunderstorm that passed through the village of Crooked Tree this morning. Reports from villagers revealed that one house was totally destroyed and two more were severely damaged. Crooked Tree is home to many cashew plantations of Belize and many of the trees were destroyed; in fact almost everything in its path has been flattened. Several structures in the village were also stripped of their galvanized roofing, and several homes are without electricity and cable television. The Belize Electricity Ltd. is in the village to restore electricity to those affected.
Close Call
Crooked Tree has been hit by a small tornado about three years ago. Villagers said these are the only two times they can remember experiencing a waterspout tornado.

Most reports from the radio and TV stations says that the high winds and heavy rains have been concentrated in the south and mid west of the country of Belize.

Downed Tree
Ryan Sealy of Crooked Tree was at home near the Crooked Tree Lagoon when the water spout formed and then headed inland as a tornado and was able to capture the system with this cell phone video below.

At 11:00 p. m EST Tropical Storm Harvey is still bringing heavy rain to Guatemala, and eastern Mexico, maximum sustained winds have fallen to 40 mph. Harvey should weaken into a tropical depression on Sunday.

Photos by F. Crawford & J. Crawford, DVM
Linda Crawford Elul

#414420 - 08/21/11 08:51 AM Re: TORNADO IN CROOKED TREE VILLAGE [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,785
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
Theory of a Tornadic Watersprout

The distinction between a tornadic waterspout and a non-tornadic waterspout. A tornadic waterspout is one that originated as a tornado over land, and eventually moved over water. These become very dangerous for boats and marinas, and especially boats not anchored or tied down. Tornadic waterspouts are typically more dangerous than "fair weather waterspouts", and are usually much larger. Non-tornadic waterspouts average between 3-100 meters, and have rotating winds less than 45 kts. which would make it an F0 tornado had it been over land.

Waterspouts not only form over the sea, but can also develop over larger lakes. One of the biggest misconceptions about waterspouts is that it is assumed that a waterspout draws up water from the body of water it is over. This is NOT true. The water that makes a waterspout visible largely comprised of the same things that tornadoes are made visible by, condensed water vapor and dust with converging winds that rise around a core. However, some of the water you see at the very bottom of the waterspout is spray from that body of water, but only goes up a few meters.

Waterspouts are very common in areas where there are daily convective thunderstorms. Tornadic waterspouts are far more dangerous, less common and more damaging.

Ambergris Today

#414505 - 08/23/11 07:59 AM Re: TORNADO IN CROOKED TREE VILLAGE [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,785
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Tornado: Caught On Camera

And while we all know what the tornado did, what was it, really? We've never heard of large, destructive tornadoes in Belize - and neither had Ryan Seely - but at least he was ready to start capturing with his camera when a twister rose up above the Crooked Tree Lagoon. Here's his story:

Jules Vasquez Reporting
On Saturday afternoon the Crooked Tree lagoon looked so quiet, so picturesque - but hours earlier it was whipped up into a fearsome, fast moving tornado.

Ryan Seely, Captured Tornado On Camera
"I was around my computer watching a movie then my mom start to call my name and she said Ryan look outside and so when I look outside I saw a tornado - my camera was right there and so I grab my camera and I started to record."

Jules Vasquez
"What did you think when you were capturing it?"

Ryan Seely, Captured Tornado On Camera
"Well at first it wasn't looking like it was coming to my house. Everyone started to freak out then it change course and went into the creek and to the rest of the village. It was kind of scary."

Jules Vasquez
"Now you footage is famous, it will be all over local TV, it will be on the internet. So it will be like Belize's first twister footage. How do you feel to have that share in history?"

Ryan Seely, Captured Tornado On Camera
"Well I am proud because that's the first hand view of everything, so I am proud."

He's proud - but fir the rest of the village, they were just in stunned disbelief:

Winston Crawford, Villager
"My house is about 300 yards from the lagoon. I heard this rolling like a truck coming, so I went to the roadside to look but I didn't see any truck. Like something told me to look up in the sky, so as I look at the sky I see the clouds and it start to come together and twist up with each other and when I look I see the trees start to open and close and later I heard the limbs breaking up and mash up like "pow, pow"."

Bruce Tillett, Lost Cashew Trees
"The storm is like a big plane that wants to land but cannot stop landing."

Hon. Edmund Castro, Area Representative
"It's frightening Jules. I think we need to check with the people at the weather bureau because this is not the first time something like this happen to Crooked Tree in this same area, so I would like some study to carry out to see the time of the year that we can lookout for tornado in the Crooked Tree area."

Bruce Tillett, Lost Cashew Trees
"First time in my life I experience this. Now I know that "Jah" is there."

But it's not really a Tornado - according to chief met officer Dennis Gonguez, it is a direct product of Tropical Storm Harvey:

Dennis Gonguez, Chief MET Officer
"The tropical cyclone is made up this large vortex with lots of little vortices contributing to this big large circulation. My feeling is what happen is that one of these smaller vortices within the big tropical cyclone circulation made its way down to the surface, so we have this small little spinning - the small pocket of air spinning and that eventually made its way down to the surface. It was brought down to the surface by rain."

So it was not the kind of tornado common in the US Midwest:

Dennis Gonguez, Chief MET Officer
"It's a whole different dynamics involve in the formation of those tornados. Those require warm air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico overriding colder air over the United States and that creates that little vortex too and that vortex - that tube eventually points down to earth. This one, we don't have that same situation here. This is part of a larger tropical cyclone. This has occurred in the past with land falling tropical cyclones but we have not been able to detect it because it is mask or hidden in the wider destruction cause by the bigger scale cyclones if you follow what I mean. These little vortices do cause destruction but then we don't pay attention to those because we see the mass destruction caused by the big tropical cyclone - the big tropical storm."

Because this type of tornado is so small - there's no way the MET office can detect it, know where to expect it, or give advance warning.

Channel 7

#414506 - 08/23/11 07:59 AM Re: TORNADO IN CROOKED TREE VILLAGE [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,785
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

“Faster-Faster Tornado” Rips Up Crooked Tree

On Saturday morning Belizeans in the south-central part of the country got ready to brace for Tropical Storm Harvey - but no one was expecting a tornado to tear through Crooked Tree Village.

So while those in the south luckily did not have to endure the ravages of a storm - in Crooked Tree they literally did not know what hit them. Our team was there shortly after the tornado turned Crooked Trees into broken trees.

Jules Vasquez Reporting
Neighbors and relatives clutched unto each other traumatized and stunned after the tornado smashed their home to bits.

The thoroughness of the destruction is hard to describe. The home was mashed up alright - but it was also blown to bits - with the contents dispersed over a wide area:

Edward "King" Leslie
"It happen so fast, it took like about 10 seconds."

Jules Vasquez
"10 seconds for all of this wreckage? It blew the house down in 10 seconds?"

Edward "King" Leslie
"I was sleeping; my girlfriend was on the bed. `She wake me up and say 'listen, listen'. I told her that it wasn't time for the storm to reach Belize yet. During that space of time she told me that it must be a helicopter. I told her that it didn't sound like a helicopter, so I open the back door and I look out and saw breeze coming in a circular direction at us. So I close the door and when I did that the glass window breaks - the bed is right next to the glass window. When that happens my girlfriend kneel down on the bed and grab on to the window. I told her to leave the window alone, by that time I was on the floor and the walls came falling down. Quick as that."

Jules Vasquez
"So you didn't have time to do anything."

Edward "King" Leslie
"Nothing, you don't even have time to save your own life if you needed to do that."

Luckily they did not need to do that - judging from the sweep of ruin though; it was close - even for these house birds that nested themselves in this beam.

While for the time being, the humans had to nest outside

Edward "King" Leslie
"Nothing we can do about it. I am happy to be alive. I am grateful for that. I can't worry about this part."

And while he took stock of his home to see the whole picture. We followed the twister's path as it cut a wide swath and about a thousand feet away - that's where this zinc sheet from his home was wrapped around a tree.

This teddy bear was flung 100 feet away and moving on along the path of destruction we find that it even snapped a barbwire fence as it roared through the open area 300 feet away, here's a part of Leslie's roof beside a snapped tree crushed and mangled.

This cashew tree - was uprooted and hurled 40 feet from where it was rooted in the ground, aluminum zinc wrapped like aluminum foil as trees were split and snapped open.

Those that weren't had the zinc hanging like a mast at this house they were already working on the roof while the old zinc hung around like a ghost….

Marie Tillett, Resident, ran for cover
"What led me to stand by and watch was when I saw like a huge ball coming and all the trees are getting chopped and it coming."

All kinds of trees were uprooted all over the place - their roots clinging desperately…

Jules Vasquez
"Now I know you have your parents here who are senior residents of this village. How did they weather it?"

Pastor Maurice Westby, Jr., Family's Home Damaged
"They were just like myself. My mom said that she had no idea what was happening. This thing happen so fast it was within 10 seconds. I was that by the time she try to close the front door - the door blew her back inside and then everything went chaos. Zinc started flying. The door was block in. She couldn't come through the front door; she had to climb over stuff to go see my brother down the street which you just interviewed."

The panorama of ruin was difficult to assess - it was everywhere:

Hon. Melvin Hulse, NEMO Minister
"We got accustomed to damages in the past but definitely something has happen and we begin to get tornadoes as its own entity now."

Hon. Edmund Castro, Area Representative
"Its 10 families houses that got structural damages and so I glad that my colleague - the Minister of NEMO Hon. Melvin Hulse is out here to see firsthand the damages that occur here in Crooked Tree and so we are looking forward to get a speedy recovery in this area to help these people to get back on their feet."

Steve Anthony, Vice-Chairman, Crooked Tree
"Right away the village council is on top of everything. We went around and access the damages. NEMO came in, Red Cross came in, and you guys are here - much appreciated and nobody as far as we know so far got hurt. A few people will have to be relocated this evening but the villagers and the village council have that under control."

Further east this iguana seemed content with his surroundings, even if this tree snapped like a toothpick twenty feet from his home and not only trees but lamp-posts as well.

And closer to the lagoon this dog house was caught up with a tree. But the dog was fast enough to get out on time. Incredibly all the trees in this yard were wrecked but the house was spared.

Patty Rhaburn
"Lord, I don't know where to start. Anyhow my kids and I was downstairs watching a movie when my neighbor call out from upstairs saying 'girl, you heard that thing' when I peep through the window I see the clouds dark and I thought it was helicopter and when I look I see the trees open and I see all the limbs wring off. When I took another look I saw all the trees in front of my yard. It was then that I got frighten because then I realize it was something different from a helicopter. Then when I come out after it pass all the housetop zincs were shaking and when I came outside and look at the damage I said 'my Lord, I can't believe it'."

Jules Vasquez
"I see all these trees beside your house. They are split open - they are up-rooted but nothing happen to your house, not one sheet of zinc is displaced, you vat seems to still be in place. The zinc on your well is still in place. How could that be?"

Patty Rhaburn
"I don't know. It is unexplainable."

And while no life was loss, livelihoods were lost - in the uprooting of scores of Cashew trees:

Bruce Tillett, Lost Cashew Trees
"I lost my livelihood for years - these cashew trees are at least about 10 years old and they are starting to bear the right way - I am just getting a good crop every year."

Jules Vasquez
"So how many trees did you have?"

Bruce Tillett, Lost Cashew Trees
"I have over 300 trees."

Jules Vasquez
"How many were destroyed?"

Bruce Tillett, Lost Cashew Trees
"At least about 150 of them are gone."

Jules Vasquez
"You have to feel two ways I would imagine - that I just lost my livelihood but my life was also speared."

Bruce Tillett, Lost Cashew Trees
"It could have been worst because we didn't really lose any life but I feel the cashew trees more that my house."

Pastor Maurice Westby, Jr., Family's Home Damaged
"As old as my mom is 87 - she turn 87 this month in August. She picks cashew seeds. She had about 5 sacks of cashew seeds from this year these trees right around that you see got damage. So this coming year is going to be dim especially for this yard where we grew up - the Westby's yard in Crooked Tree. I don't know what we will get this year with cashew nuts. That's a part of their sustenance - the cashew seeds."

Patty Rhaburn
"We still have to be thankful that God didn't make anybody got hurt through the whole ordeal but all our crops - the cashew trees that we depend on - those are gone, we can all of them down. So next year we will take a hit when it comes to cashew` seeds. It's very hard because this is what we depend on to live by. This is Crooked Tree livelihood."

Hon. Melvin Hulse, NEMO Minister
"It is a disaster. NEMO does not segregate disasters. We are going to come in here. That why I came personally and quickly, it helps me now to get a figure because now we have to build back houses."

Jules Vasquez
"Not only houses, the cashew trees have a value."

Hon. Melvin Hulse, NEMO Minister
"The agriculture component - the Minister of Agriculture Rene Montero has always been quick to get the job done. We have never had any problems with that."

The unofficial estimate from the village council is that 225 Cashew trees blew down. According to villagers, one tree gives one to two sacks of cashew nuts - and each sack yields twelve to 13 quarts at 16 to twenty dollar per quart.

Bottom line? Based on the estimate of 225 cashew trees down - assuming 200 were mature - a rough estimate the losses in earnings would be in the range of one hundred thousand dollars.

Channel 7

#414511 - 08/23/11 08:02 AM Re: TORNADO IN CROOKED TREE VILLAGE [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,785
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Experts say water sprout not slow tornado in Crooked Tree

Tropical Storm Harvey turned out, fortunately, to be more bark than bite on Saturday. The big news coming out of the storm were claims that tornados had ripped through the villages of Crooked Tree and San Lazaro in the north. There was an air of both excitement and despair; excitement because tornados are unknown in these parts, and despair because there were damages to at least five houses in its path. But was it really tornados caught on the video that was immediately posted on Facebook. News Five has been following the story since Saturday. Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The news and images of a tornado in northern Belize District spread almost as quickly as the weather system swept through Crooked Tree Village on Saturday morning. But it turns out that the conditions for the formation of a tornado do not exist in Belize… so what was it?

Dennis Gonguez

Dennis Gonguez, Chief Meteorologist

“That tornado like structure—the tropical cyclone is a large circulating vortex and within that large circulating vortex there are smaller vertices or circulations and that quite possibly could have been one of those smaller circulations within the large tropical cyclone circulation.”

Frank Tench, Meteorologist

“If you notice the footage, the vortex is surviving while it’s over water. But watch in the last few seconds here, just as it goes over land it fizzles out, which is one reason we feel fairly convinced it was not a tornado. A water spout most likely and water spouts do occur quite often along our coastal waters several times during the year.”

While the phenomenon was not as severe as a tornado, it caused more damage than Tropical Storm Harvey. Eighty-seven year old Emma Westby barley escaped injury when the first water spout formed at Crooked Tree.

Emma Westby, Crooked Tree Village Resident

Emma Westby

“I heard this big breeze; I thought it was the storm. I heard my husband shout and by the time I reach the door from the kitchen to come in, it seemed like everything done and when I swing around and look, a stick almost hit me in my head out of the kitchen and the kitchen door slammed and the breeze suddenly gone, just like that. I started to cry for my son and my daughter-in-law in that board house over there; I thought they were dead. I went to the back door and I move the zinc from across the door and I went over to their house and there I met my daughter-on-law crying.”

Emma’s house had minor damages, but her son and daughter-in-law lost their home and all their belongings in a matter of seconds.

Maurice Westby Jr.

Maurice Westby Jr., Crooked Tree Village Resident

“He saw some dark clouds and he closed the door back. And by the time he closed the door, the back glass window popped. That’s right by his bed. His wife was on the bed so his wife got up to hold the window and he told her not to try to hold the window because the rest of panes might break. And by the time he said that, he was on the ground; on his back as quick as that. Ten seconds, he said it was ten seconds and by the time he came to himself, he said he didn’t know what hit him. If it was the power of the wind or when the house exploded. But his wife was crying because the back wall fell on her and he got up and pushed the back wall off. That’s the damage that you see in the background. Thank God, none of them were injured but everything fell around them as you can see from the damage on the house; everything fell. The refridge, the stove was broken up. Everything was broken.”

By eleven o’clock, the residents of San Lazaro Village, Orange Walk also experienced what they believed was a tornado.

Henry Lopez

Henry Lopez, San Lazaro Resident

“All of a sudden I saw some zinc flying over by the street and then I noticed that breeze was coming; hard breeze. So I called on my family and told them close the door, close everything. All of a sudden we heard the big noise coming and we could hardly close the door and windows because of the strong breeze.”

Henry Lopez says that his home was spared, but his brother and neighbor have some rebuilding to do.

Henry Lopez

“The zinc on the front verandah, all of that fly out in pieces. It was like in four pieces.”

Delahnie Bain

“Did you have any other houses damaged in the area?”

Henry Lopez

“Yes, about two houses from here we had another one. The walls of the—one side of the wall dropped on top of the belongings of the family in there.”

Delahnie Bain

“And there were in there?”

Henry Lopez

“Yes, there was a lady with two kids. She heard like something was about to drop from the house so she hurry dropped the babies and came out. After she had moved the babies, the wall dropped on the bed.”

But help is on the way for the affected families, according to NEMO Coordinator, Noreen Fairweather.

Noreen Fairweather, NEMO Coordinator3

Noreen Fairweather

“We have people out there in the field looking at what happened and so we will be making an assessment and subsequently determine in what way we can assist. At the end of the day, these are the homes of those people and so we will determine after we get that report to see how we can assist them to get back on their feet.”

Delahnie Bain for News Five.

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