Strange, Severe Storm Wrecks Roofs In Belize District

Last night we told you about the brief afternoon hailstorm in Corozal – but we didn’t know that would only be the start of the day’s severe weather. By 9:00 pm last night, a sever thunderstorm and a weird wind from the west was wreaking havoc in the Belize district. It ripped off a few roofs, and we found out more today, about the weather system and the wreckage it left in its wake.

Jules Vasquez reporting
This is the satellite loop from 5:45 yesterday to last night at midnight and that wisp of blue in the middle descending down the screen is the same systems that produced hail in Corozal and kept going south.

Frank Tench - Weather Forecaster
"The whole region was covered by thunderstorm activity during the night but the thunderstorms that really affected came from the North West. Some of these thunderstorms eventually came accross Northern Belize and eventually worked their way to central and even southern Belize during the night to produce the outburst of showers and thunderstorms and the strong winds we experienced last night. At the airport we recorded a maximum gust of wind of about 65 knotts but during the episode itselt sustained wind gust wind speeds in the range of 40-50 knotts between 7:00 and 8:00pm last night."

That’s maximum winds of 75 miles per hour and sustained winds of between 45 to 55 miles per hour - like a tropical Storm or low intensity hurricane.

Frank Tench
"A minimal hurricane - 75 miles per hour is considered a minimal hurricane."

It was anything but minimal for this Lord’s Bank resident who’s missing half of a roof. He salvaged this slab of wrecked roof from a neighbor’s yard down the block two houses away. And the other half, was still strewn there, two houses away where it even damaged his neighbor’s house. The homeowner who only wanted to be indentified as Mr. Andersons told us it was like -

"Mr. Anderson" - Calls the storm "three minutes of hell"

And that’s because he had to punch out his wooden louvers to free his wife whose hand got pinned in the windblown door.

Mr. Anderson
"The breeze came it started to flap the roof over and over and right after the roof flew off. After that happened it started hitting us so we were trying to get to safety before it hurted us because if it can take the roof then it can take me. The breeze was blowing so hard that it was pushing back the door. I grabbed the baby and ran downstairs and that was when she held on to the door while she was coming behind me and the door closed on her hand. I ran to the neighbor for help, I had to break a window to get into the house and then I pushed the door open from inside."

The door knob snapped off and that was just one part of a night of chaos the evidence of which is still very visible in his house which is now sky-lit. Inside his house looks like a tornado blew through the roof is gone and everything is soaked and scattered. A theater of ruin and write-off’s. Their lives have been turned uspide down and they are left exposed to the elements. And to think it all started with what he thought was a harmless rain.

Jules Vasquez
"Now was there any way you could have expected anything like this could have happened?"

Mr. Anderson
"No sir! It looked like a normal rain was coming which turned into a mad wind."

And this home in Los Lagos was also caught off guard. Pretty much, the entire roof is gone and what little remains has been destroyed by water. This mountain of mangled zinc had to be rescued from a neighbor’s yard more than a hundred feet away along with other personal possessions. They’ll have to repair the entire roof. Only the frame is left. And work on the roof is just what they were doing at this small plywood home on Holy Emmanuel Street. The family of four was inside last night around 9:00 when the wind started whipping up.

Anthony James - Roof Blew Off - Belize City
"Well last night we were watching television when it started to rain a little so I told my girlfriend that it seems that we were going to get wet tonight. We were there and I saw my rooftop and was wondering if I was seeing well and when I saw my entire rooftop blew off."

Jules Vasquez
"So what were those moments like when the rooftop blew off?"

Anthony James
"We just got frightened because we saw the roof flew off and the rain came in and we were still there. It was raining hard and so I grabbed my baby and came downstairs and right there I put my things."

Bobby Manzaray - Resident
"Underneath the house is swamped out because it's a swampy area. When it rains the area gets muddy and I put sticks and pallette. My mom said that when the storm came the water rose up so she had to go to sleep at the Police station. The breeze blew everything and the rain destroyed everything. It's rough because my little sister is only two years old and she couldn't handle it because when the roof flew off everything got wet, clothes, bed and everything was destroyed."

All their possessions were soaked and even thought it’s a small house, they need to get it fixed before tonight. After mom and the kids were forced to sleep in the police station last night.

Phillip Willoughby - CEMO/NEMO Coordinator
"We were on the ground since this morning during the initial damage assessment. This information will be forwarded to the Ministry of Human Development which the Minister Anthony 'Boots' Martinez and the Minister of State Hon. Mark King and also to Hon. Godwin Hulse for the ministry to look at it and see how quickly we can assist the homes and the families who were affected."

Jules Vasquez
"Okay you told me about three ministers - that sounds like a lot of beaurecracy. Will these people be able to get help immediately in the short term to alleviate their housing needs?"

Phillip Willoughby
"I believe so, I think within the assessments this morning I hope that with reasonable time the families will be assisted."

And that’s all these folks want, to get back into their homes.

Mr. Anderson
"I want to try and get back as soon as I could because after all it's our home."

Anthony James
"Maybe God did it for a reason."

This evening, authorities were called to a few more houses in the Lake Independence area, so no total estimate of damages for the Belize District has been finalized.

Storms Destroys OW Poultry, Topples 15 Homes, Costs Major $$$

But in Orange Walk, the damage is far greater – they didn’t lose a few roofs, they lost a huge volume of poultry worth hundreds of thousands of dollars!

CTV-3 reports that the storm really wreaked havoc in the Central Orange Walk District –toppling 15 homes and killing as many as four thousand chickens in Camp 18 of Shipyard, a Mennonite community.

Images provided by LOVE TV, show the thorough upheaval and the dead chickens. The poultry was from three different barns which were destroyed by the strong winds. Community elders say the damage and losses are estimated at three hundred thousand dollars.

Images from the settlement show massive trees uprooted and fences felled by the heavy winds.

Remarkably, when we called the NEMO district Coordinator Elodio Aragon Sr to confirm he said quote, “Orange Walk is totally okay, nothing happened.” End quote.

Channel 7


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