For the past five years or so, we’ve gotten used to going out to the Municipal Airstrip in Belize City – where high tides force the temporary closure of the runway, which is right against the sea. But that usually happens in September when the Spring Tides come in. But, call it climate change, rising sea levels, or full moon, but the tides over the weekend were unusually high – and it forced an unprecedented July closure of the airstrip. It had to be closed yesterday, today and the same is expected for tomorrow. We discussed the strange tides with the General Manager of the Belize airport Authority Kenworth Tillett:…
Kenworth Tillett - Chairman, BAA
"We are having an unusual high tide and of course when we have extra ordinary high tides - the runway gets flooded. So we had to close the runway and we're on the process to try and clean up now and hope that we get the airport open in an hour or so."
"What is causing these phenomenally high tides?"
"Well the last time I thought it was Global Warming - the weather is unpredictable, I have no idea as to why; it's just high tide - higher than normal."
"But usually it occurs later in the year - this is unusual for it to occur now."
"Usually it occurs late October or mid September but this year it's just come earlier."
"We know that the municipal airstrip is being rebuilt - there's a major project. What will be done to ensure that this doesn't happen with the new airstrip?"
"Basically we're going to be raising the new airstrip at least 18 inches from where we have this one and we're going to be building a sea wall - a retaining wall to stop the wave action that is taking place."
The high tide – after tonight’s full is expected around ten am tomorrow – so if you’re catching a flight make it very early or around noon.