For the latest on Tropical Storm Earl, click here
FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE
Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.
Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The San Pedro Sun
ADVISORY NO. 9 HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE COAST OF BELIZE
NEMO hereby informs that Hurricane Earl was centered near Latitude 17.1°N, Longitude 86.0°W or about 103 miles east-southeast of Half Moon Caye, 141 miles east-southeast of San Pedro Ambergris Caye, 147 miles east of Dangriga, 150 miles east-southeast of Belize City, 181 miles east-southeast of Corozal Town, and 198 miles east of Punta Gorda Town.
Iconic showcases summer fashion line
Young aspiring fashion designer, Adrian Roca, debuted his ‘Iconic Fashion Show’ on Saturday, July 30th. Held at Caribbean Villas, Roca launched his eternal summer resort and swimwear collection. William Neal hosted the show, while entertainment was provided by DJ Patron and Saxophonist Allan McCoy.
It was all glitz and glamour when the models strutted across the runway stage in their ensembles. From bikinis to club wear, they showed off fine fashion. With a collection of over 20 designs, Roca is confident his style rocks La Isla Bonita.
“I am very overwhelmed and I thank everyone who came out and supported me. I guess when you are passionate about something like I am about fashion design, it becomes a part of yourself. Fashion is how I express myself and it is an extension of who I am,” said Roca.
Zika; the global plague of the decade
Since the first suspected case in Belize in April 2016, San Pedro was the first municipality to produce a municipal action engagement preparedness and response plan. The aim of the plan is to combat Zika and promote vector control interventions that prevents the spread of the virus. San Pedro is currently in the stage of eradicating mosquitos and preparing for confirmed cases on the island.
Jorge Aldana of the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) has stated that Mayor Daniel Guerrero, along with the town council, is actively working at reducing the chances of an outbreak in San Pedro. The Clean-up Campaign has been a major project that promotes community members to clean their yards of garbage, stagnant water, and open containers.
Camp Starfish 2016 ends in style
After two weeks of non-stop fun and learning, the third annual Camp Starfish came to a close with a grand celebration. Catering to children living with disabilities, the camp ended on Friday, July 29th with a parade and party organized to make each camper feel extra special.
A colorful decorated float led the parade shortly after 10AM across the town core. Characters such as Peppa Pig and Caillou joined camp buddies, and organizers to bring cheer to the children. With festive music, campers and volunteers followed behind as multiple golf-carts displayed posters showcasing the theme, “We are more alike than different”. Camp Starfish made sure its presence was known along Barrier Reef and Pescador Drive.
Afterwards, all participants, family members and invited guests converged at the Lions Den for a party. Everyone was encouraged to participate in fun games; from karaoke to freeze dance, and even musical chairs, the campers were more than enthusiastic to join in on the fun. A camp buddy serenaded the audience with an acapella performance of “Diamonds” by Rihanna. To top off the fun, children had a blast popping the piñata, eating cake, and receiving goody bags.
Tropical Storm Earl expected to land in Belize as a hurricane
Tropical Storm Earl, which a few days ago was just a tropical wave over the Caribbean Sea, is now expected to become a hurricane before it makes landfall in Belize. On Tuesday, August 2nd, Earl became the fifth named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season and its projected path will have it landing in Belize in the early hours of Thursday, August 4th.
As the storm slowly moves westward at a speed of 14 miles per hour, the chances for it to become at least a category 1 hurricane are increasing by the hour. A hurricane warning has been issued for the Bay Islands of Honduras, all the Belize coastline and up to the Riviera Maya in Mexico. Early on Wednesday morning, Tropical Storm Earl was located around 235 miles east southeast of Belize City, with maximum sustained winds at 70 miles per hour.
A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE COAST OF BELIZE
NEMO hereby informs that at 9:00am Tropical Storm Earl was centered near Latitude 16.3°N,
Longitude 84.4°W or about 189 miles east-southeast of Half Moon Caye, 231 miles east-southeast
of San Pedro Ambergris Caye, 230 miles east of Dangriga, 236 miles east-southeast of Belize City,
271 miles east-southeast of Corozal Town, and 267 miles east of Punta Gorda Town.
Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast and
Earl is likely to become a hurricane before it makes landfall. Earl is moving westward near 14
mph and some decrease in forward speed is expected during the next 48 hours. On this track, Earl
will MAKE landfall in Belize tonight or early Thursday morning. Earl will produce rainfall
accumulation of 8-12 inches over Belize with possible higher amounts. These rains could cause
flash floods and mud slides especially over higher terrain. For coastal areas, there is also a risk for
flooding, especially in low lying areas.
Misc Belizean Sources
Okay so painting is on tomorrow. Crazy Canucks at 2p.m I expect everybody to show up! ;) no excuses.
White lipped peccaries
Thought to have been locally extinct in the Chiquibul, white lipped peccaries have started to be documented once more. Photo is from PhD student, Lauren N. Watine, and the Program for Tropical Ecology and Conservation Science (PTECS). PTECS is a joint venture between the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the University of Florida.
Evacuation this morning in San Pedro Town
Moscow Ballet on Ice - Belize
Here are a some of the photos from the show, Moscow Ballet on Ice as they performed in Belize City.
NOAA Outlook for Central America August 4 – 10, 2016
During late July, scattered moderate to heavy rainfall was observed along coastal areas of Central America, while suppressed rainfall prevailed throughout the interior of the region. This resulted in mostly below-average rainfall during the past week and contributed to the persistence of drier than average conditions over eastern and central Guatemala, Honduras, and northwestern Nicaragua over the past thirty days. During July, these dry portions of Central America have received only between 25-80 percent of their average rainfall and have also experienced below-average number of rain days.
154 Years, 1,179 Days: The long wait for gay rights in Belize
The upcoming verdict of an LGBTQ discrimination case brought against the Attorney General of Belize will help decide whether the nation’s antiquated colonial laws regarding homosexuality may soon be updated. While such laws are generally not enforced, they contain inflammatory and bigoted language that impedes individual freedoms and encourages an intolerant society.
The Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) condemns these laws and hopes that the verdict of Orozco v. Attorney General of Belize will finally guarantee human rights for members of the country’s LGBTQ community. Though a ruling was expected on July 27, this landmark decision has been delayed until August 10.
Belize bank hit by withdrawals and correspondent bank de-risking
An offshore bank owned by Britain’s Lord Ashcroft has closed a large number of customer accounts and faced a wave of withdrawal requests after becoming increasingly caught up in a US tax-evasion crackdown and the withdrawal of foreign correspondent banking services.
The value of deposits at Belize Bank International (BBI) shrank by almost three-quarters in the space of just six months, and confidential emails suggest some BBI customers have struggled to recover their cash, the London Guardian newspaper reported.
So stretched is the position that BBI in April told a court in Belize that it could not pay a $3.3 million judgment against it without liquid assets falling below the minimum amount required by law.
BBI has denied it was in crisis and said it faced a short-term problem.
However, tough US anti-tax evasion laws have increased compliance costs for BBI’s correspondent banking partners, prompting Bank of America and Commerzbank to terminate relationships with the bank.
Hurricane Earl: What It Is Now
Tonight, Belize is bracing for the force of a large Category 1 hurricane and the two red flags with black centres flown above each other, means that Hurricane conditions are fast approaching.
According to the latest update from NEMO, Earl will make landfall on Belize at about midnight – but the first Tropical Storm force winds will reach Half Moon Caye within half an hour, and San Pedro by 9:00 pm.
Now the most important fact about this storm right now is that the eye is wobbling just a bit, so it's hard to say just where on the Belize Coast it will make landfall. It's important to know where the eye will land because the storm force winds are in the quadrant just north of that. So wherever the eye lands, the brunt of the storm force winds will be felt to the north of that.
Hurricane Earl, The Last Minute Rush
And so with the storm heading straight for the coast, those in, Belize City, the country's largest population centre – which also sits on that coast – went into scramble mode this morning to stock up on supplies, or make a run to the shelter of inland areas. This morning, Courtney Weatherburne was out there getting a feel for the hectic pace and she has this story:…
From early this morning, residents have been preparing for Tropical Strom Earl. Cars were lined up at gas stations for fuel. People were rushing and crowding major stores buying all kinds of food supplies.
"So you are here at Publics stacking up for the storm?"
Melissa Sanchez - City Resident:
"Yes I am because these things don't give a lot of warning when it get close it could change a different direction or become stronger than the normally projected."
City Shelters Filled Up Fast
As you saw in that story, the Belize City shelters were filling up very quickly. Well, by this afternoon – CEMO had to open more shelters because city residents were going there in droves. Councillor Phillip Willoughby told us why:…
Phillip Willoughby, City Councilor, CEMO:
"Those 5 shelters when open I was briefed about an hour and half ago. Most of those shelters were filled and now we are seeking to open the remaining shelters across Belize City; Southside, Northside."
"Has the shelter response been stronger than you've seen in previous storms?"
San Pedro Shelter Situation
And while the city shelters are filled to the gills, it doesn't sound quite the same in San Pedro. That's the first major population centre which will be feeling storm force winds at around . We spoke to the town Coordinator Primrose Augustine an hour ago and she said they were calm and prepared:…
"What is the situation right now in San Pedro?"
Primrose Augustine - NEMO Coordinator, San Pedro
"The situation right now Jules everything is calm. Every is waiting on this storm to make landfall."
"Okay now they are saying NEMO is saying that it will make landfall; San Pedro will start experiencing 40 mph wind at 9 pm to 11 pm and midnight the whole country will start to experience hurricane force winds. What are San Pedroanos going to the shelters?"
Orange Walk Shelters Opened At 3:00 PM
And while that is the situation in San Pedro, the latest storm tracking suggests that the southern Orange Walk District will be feeling the brunt of the storm, along with the Belize River Valley. We spoke to the District Coordinator – who told us that people weren't really rushing out to the shelters:
Suleima Celiz - NEMO Coordinator, Orange Walk:
"We are fully activated and all our shelters are open at the moment. We have been communicating with our chairperson in the villages and everybody who needs to evacuate are being evacuated to the shelters. We have people from Trail Farm being evacuated; I do not have the exact amount of people that are in the shelters right now as our shelters are open at 3 today."
"Have people been going eagerly towards the shelters or they are a little reluctant because you know Orange Walk is a little but more inland than a coastal community so maybe people don't feel threatened."
The MET Department Says
That and much more is coming up, but while we don't have a full weather report tonight, Daniel Ortiz spoke to Forecaster Michael Gentle just a few minutes ago for the official forecast of when the storm will hit where:
Michael Gentle - Forecaster, National Met Service:
"It's 87 miles east by south of Belize City and its move at about 14 mph so that would give us roughly 6 hours to make landfall along the coast. The original projections were just south of Belize City near where the 2 lagoons are northern and southern lagoon. So the effects of the surge would be felt near where the centre make landfall and to the north of it so Belize City would be in an area where we expect the effects from the surge. Hurricane force winds extend out just a small area however we can expect it to experience tropic storm force winds extending out 150 miles so we can expect tropic storm force winds towards the northern extremity of the country and we can expect it to a lesser extent going south. It would it seem that the extreme south would not get as much wind as the stronger part of the storm to the north and to the east so we expecting the surge and the strongest wind to affect the area near to Belize City where we have the northern and southern lagoon and areas north of that."
Storm Threat Doesn't Stop Murder
Hurricane Earl is only a few hours away from making landfall in Belize. And while the Rural Eastern Division Police officers were busy making preparations to cover the 30+ villages in their jurisdiction, they had to make time to respond to another murder in the Japan area of Ladyville.
Anyone who watched the news with regularity knows that there have several murders in that area. Well another was added to list last night, after someone went to the home of 32 year-old John Williams and shot him in the head. He died right inside his home, where he was supposed to be safe, the same place where his son and where his girlfriend had just left.
Today, Our news team went looking for answers as why anyone would want to execute a man who, by all appearances, stayed out of trouble. Daniel Ortiz has that story:
Just before midnight last night, Ladyville Police came upon the body of 32 year-old John Williams, a resident of the Japan area who had been killed while he was inside his home.
Arson In City Over Lover's Spat
A house burned down in Belize City last night – and police say it was a straight up case of arson. And while arson is always malicious, Southside Commander ACP Chester Williams says this one is doubly so because it is the result of a relationship gone bad between a couple, and it was preceded last week by a vicious beat down.
ACP Chester Williams, O. C. Eastern South:
"Well this morning sometime after 4 police received information of a fire in Martin's area on Jones' street to be exact. Police responded and they saw a house which occupied before by one Mr. Mario Zelaya and his wife but they had seperated a couple weeks ago. Zelaya is currently in the hospital recovering from injuries we received as a result of a beat down. He got over on Northside about 2, 3 years ago. From our investigation the fire is arson and we have an idea basically who are the persons behind it but the investigation is still on going so I'll not go into too much details because it might hinder our investigation but it's a matter are looking into we believe it is arson."
Father of Wesley Burglars Charged
Last night we told you about brazen Wesley Lower School burglary. 3 minors, who are former Wesley students, broke in and stole a number of electronic devices and about $900 cash, that's not to mention the mess they left behind in classrooms, the kitchen, storage area and main office. Now while the police have caught the 3 minors and the 42 year old man Kent Cole who was also involved, it's not really the underaged burglars who will face the blunt of the repercussions, it's their parents. Today the father of one of the 15 year olds was charged for allowing an unsupervised child to be in a public place. Now it is quite an unusual charge but according to Southside Commander Chester Williams, it is in the law and he will enforce it. IT CARRIES A MAXIMUM FINE OF TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS OR ONE YEAR IMPRISONMENT.
Customs Caught Female Contrabandists
It's not a widely acknowledged fact, but it's true enough that when a storm is about, many use the downtime for a stay at home drinking session. In Corozal that would mean chilling out with some contraband beverages – but one popular contraband retailer got shutdown last Friday in a Customs and Police crackdown. They visited the home of Vidalia Riverol in the Halls Layout Area and found 429 bottles of contraband Suprerior, Modelo and Miller beers, along with 44 cans of Modelo. That's a total of 473 beers – and two women were charged for it. They are 62 year old Vidilia Riverol and 28 year old Jenny Vellos – they were the only ones at home at the time.
Macal and Mopan Drownings Reported on Same Day
As a Tropical Storm Earl already caused six deaths in the Dominican Republic; tonight the storm is a hurricane headed for Belize where the nation prays for safety and wellbeing. But, even before it arrives there are two drowning deaths to report in the West. Benque Viejo residents saw a body floating down the Mopan river yesterday afternoon at 3:30. The Hispanic male was later identified by his mother as 18 year old Jonathan Josue Montes Diaz, a Salvadoran National from Belmopan. A post mortem certified that he died of drowning.
And, earlier that afternoon police got the report of a drowning in the Macal River near Duplooys Jungle Lodge. 21 year old Irlan Oliver Mesh a Cook who works at Duplooys and resident of San Antonio Village Cayo District was found apparently lifeless. Here's what happened: at about midday, Mesh was crossing the Macal River alone inside a Silver in color Canoe from his home in San Antonio Village to cross over to Duplooys when the vessel overturned causing him to fall in the river. He never resurfaces and was later found by a co worker who tried to administer CPR but it was too late.
Hon. Hulse Happy To Take On Police, But Liked Nat. Resources
And in other national news that isn't about Hurricane Earl – this week, the new police Minister Godwin Hulse has his hands full. That's because the police are in peak operation mode, responding to all types of urgencies and emergencies. For Hulse, who seems to relish every new challenge thrown his way, he admits to having mixed feeling about leaving the Ministry of Natural Resources after only nine months. This is his interview from Monday:…
"Sir is there any bittersweet feeling leaving the ministry of natural resources? In so far as you put in a lot of work there. You believed you had great success but might there not be the undertone that the prime minister found a way to get you out of the way while at the same time giving you a job as important as you are but to get you out of the way because you da mi big hold up and all those ministers mi bex and maybe Ms. Vanessa; while she is a senator and unelected perhaps she will be more agreeable to deal with."
ACP Williams Welcomes Hulse
And while Hulse embraces his new challenge, how does the police top brass feel. Surely, Minister John Saldivar had those cops who were in his corner – after being in the job since 2012. And perhaps that is why the Prime Minister said the Ministry may have needed a new face. ACP Chester Williams seems to have felt the same way…
ACP Chester Williams, O. C. Eastern South:
"I do believe that with Mr. Hulse as the minister of police we'll see some positive change within the police department. I personally I embrace him as our new minister and we'll do what needs to be done be able to ensure that whatever changes he may want that it goes to fruition. I do agree with what the prime minister said in terms of the police as the primary law enforcement agency in the country needs to assure the citizens of citizen security so we are a department need to take a look at what we're doing and see how we can enhance what we have been doing as a department."
"The prime minister additionally mentioned that he felt perhaps a change is needed in the police department; was needed the ministerial level. How do you feel about those remarks; obviously it is both the minister and the prime minister were aware of some chemistry issue between the commanders in the eastern division; they both mentioned it when they spoke."
She Claims Sexual Harassment Destroyed Her Career
Keeping it on police affairs, tonight we have part two of our interview with the female police recruit who claims that Mark Flowers – then an Assistant Inspector – sexually assaulted her in 1999. She lost her career in policing because of it. Tonight, in the second part of out interview with her she explains that for her, policing was more than just a job – and when the assault occurred it put her career dream on permanent hold:…
She ended up being a teacher for more than a decade and told us that despite having an associate’s degree - she tried and failed four times to get back into the academy after taking the entry test. She feels she is blacklisted. And responding to Flowers allegation that they had some kind of prior familiarity relationship – she told us today that she is 100% certain that the night of the assault is the first time she spoke to him.
Earl, Another Look From The City
Hurricane Earl is lining up for Belize at this hour – in fact, Tropical Storm Force Winds are already being felt in Belizean territory at Half Moon Caye. Those winds will be on San Pedro by nine to0ngith, and by midnight, coastal areas on the mainland will be braced by those winds and, of course, rains. At 6:00 pm, the center of the storm was 85 miles east south east of Belize City.
Now, it's important to note that forecasters say the storm will make landfall north of Belize city – and the path of the eye will look something like this. NEMO advises that the main impact zone is most likely the Belize River Valley area, villages such as Willows Bank; Rancho Dolores; Isabella Bank; Double Head Cabbage; and villages in southern Orange Walk such as Guinea Grass, August Pine ridge, San Felipe, Indian Church and parts of Corozal to a lesser extent.
Maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph with higher gusts and Earl is moving westward near 14 mph.
Keeping the City Safe
And while the view from above always looks peaceful, somewhere in there criminals are lurking and trying to get into the homes of those who have gone to shelters. Today we asked Southside commander Chester Williams how he will keep the city safe:..
So will CEMO help with that heavy equipment? Councilor Willoiughby seems to have a different plant:
The Rural Response To Earl
And while that's Eastern Division South's plan, Eastern Division Rural also has to prepare itself for what is forecasted to be the strongest parts of the storm. There are 32 villages in their jurisdiction, a large number of them located along the Belize River – which is now being named as the target area for Hurricane Earl.
It's a flood prone area, and experts who know the waterways know that whenever there are heavy rains, the lagoons take on a lot of water, which causes delayed flooding days later.
Today, the lead officers of Eastern Division Rural told us that they will remain vigilant during, and well after the storm to move if there are emergencies:
The rural police have set up an emergency line, which is 635-5136, it can be called on the phone system or using WHATSAPP.
Philloughby's Final Call
And while the police will do their part, you have to do yours as well – and for all households, the first responsibility is coming to terms with the reality of the storm. Make no mistake, this is a large and powerful hurricane. Tonight, NEMO is at Phase 3 – two red flags with black centers flown above each other.
NEMO stresses, quote, "We will experience strong winds blowing as fast as 70 or more miles or per hour, heavy rainfall; storm surge; flooding along the coastline; trees blown down; weak houses and structures will be damaged or destroyed; loose objects will become projectiles, power outages and disruption to water. As the system approaches expect light winds, then heavy hurricane like winds, thereafter there will be a calm as the eye passes; thereafter we will experience very strong winds then the winds will get weaker and eventually die off."
So, if you are in a weak structure, seek shelter. Here's how councilor Phillip Willoughby put it as his final warning:…