Climate Change To Blame

Unusually high tides have forced the closure of the Municipal Airstrip for the past two mornings.

Long-time residents of the area say the tides in what's called "the hangar area" are higher than they have ever been. And for the past two mornings, with the high tide coming around eight in the morning - it has meant the closure of the airstrip which runs right alongside the sea.

Yesterday it was closed from 8:00 in the morning until the early afternoon - and today it was opened at 11:00 am.

That's how long it took for the tides to recede and to clean off the debris. But, with the runway closed, it's a tremendous inconvenience - and we asked the decision maker in chief about it today:..

Jules Vasquez
"It's a tremendous inconvenience for travellers. It's a significant loss of earnings for the air carriers and a loss of earnings for the taxi men as well."

Kenworth Tillett, GM - Belize Airport Authority
"Fortunately we can't control what nature has to throw at us. We could have been preventative in terms of had we foresee the problem of basically taken measures to stop the flooding. Right now there is nothing we can do when nature decides to level her wrath on us with the tide. We just have to wait and get it over with when it is over."

"There is plan basically to raise the runway and we expect that works on this is going to start within the next 3 months and hopefully next year we won't have this problem but when it comes to Mother Nature there is nothing we can do about it."

"It's climate change and it's raising ocean in the ocean levels. Like you say it's not been as bad as this in the past, we've always been able to basically wait it out and within a short re-open the airport. It is a concern and that is why the project to basically raise the airport and improve the length of the runway is in process. There is a bog concern where the raising of the ocean and the tides are concern."

We called the met office today where the Chief Met Officer Dennis Gonguez told us that the unusually high tides are "strange" because September 23rd to the 27th should be what's known as the neap tide - which is when the tides are the lowest. He added though, that he can't really attribute the very high tides to climate change.

Whatever's causing it though - it is expected to continue with tomorrow's high tide due at 8:51 am - when travelers should expect another forced closure of the runway.

Channel 7