This weekend Biscayne residents were left shaken after an intense thunderstorm wreaked havoc on their homes. It hit on Saturday evening around 4:30. Most residents were inside their houses and the weather seemed just fine until, all of a sudden, darkness blanketed the sky and there was a downpour. But that wasn't the end of it; residents say a miniature tornado whipped through and caused a whole lot of damages. Now we have reported on these types of storms before, one of the big ones hit Crooked Tree in August 2011. While Meteorologists say these storms are nothing out of the ordinary, it was very much so for Biscayne residents. Courtney Weatherburne has more details on the aftermath.
Ralph Gentle, Biscayne Resident "We just figured it was just normal, the wind just a bit blowing hard we didn't know it was to all that extent until we come outside and saw it , the trees ,we see the tress, the fruits them on the ground and everything so we realize that something strange went on."
Courtney Weatherburne reporting
And nothing could have prepared Gentle or any other Biscayne resident for that strange super storm that swirled through their village on Saturday evening.
The storm ripped off zinc roofs, smashed a portion of this cement structure and chomped on trees.
For most residents, there was nothing they could do but look on in fear as the storm tore through their village and wrecked their homes.
Marcus Antonio Gonzalez, Resident "And then we see a dark round thing, a round, round, dark dark dark thing, like it came especially for us and then I see a cool breeze the come."
"And it come, breeze breeze breeze and rain, breeze and rain and then it hold up after, it was a surprise to me and when we lift up my head, I say buay no roof on we head, on the house, no roof."
"Everything wet up, wet up inside and broke up, the wall lean up."
The Dominguez brothers were not home when the storm struck but they came back to find their brand new roof on the other side of the highway, the storm flung the roof and it sliced the nearby power line.
Fred Dominguez, Resident "When we come we just meet everything over the next side of the road, the whole roofing on the other side of the road on the street just broad, zinc, everting on the streets side so vehicles just have to come and slow down at the same time."
Courtney Weatherburne, 7News "And it got hooked up in the power lines right?"
Fred Dominguez, Resident "Hooked up in the power lines, cut up the power lines, black out same time, so."
While the storm has passed, residents are still trying to figure out what hit them and how it formed so quickly without any warning. Some residents are convinced it was a tornado.
Marcus Antonio Gonzalez, Resident "That was a real tornado, that is like a real, like a drill when it picked up something it dash it away and break it up and he is going on his way."
But Acting Chief Meteorologist Catherine Cumberbatch wouldn't call it a tornado but a severe thunderstorm - which she describes as normal in these inland areas during this time.
Catherine Cumberbatch, Acting Chief Meteorologist "Our forecast was going for a few showers and thunderstorms to affect inland areas and you know Biscayne is one of those locations which is inland and that is actually what happened, we had a line of thunderstorm that crossed that area and you know it was a very hot day so with the daytime heating those thunderstorm activities really become intense."
"It was just a severe thunderstorm cell that passed over, and these thunderstorm cell could aver severe downdraft that caused these outburst with the winds affecting these areas."
While it is important to explain this weather phenomenon, these residents are focused on only one thing: putting their homes back together. About 9 homes in all were affected and Area Representative Edmond Castro says his NEMO team is doing its best to help these storm victims.
Hon. Edmond Castro, Minister, NEMO & Area Rep. Belize Rural North "So yesterday NEMO, we went out, we provided some mattress for some of the affected residents and also some food supplies for the residents who were affected in the Biscayne area."
"Today we should have compiled the data as to how many zinc we might need to purchase to try see how we can assist those residents and the ones that houses are just about totally gone, we will try to see how we can help those residents to rebuild back."
According to residents, it took about 15 minutes for the storm to pass. As we had said, a storm similar to this one hit Crooked Tree in August 2011, another one struck Maskall in October 2014 and as recent as August 2016, Spanish Lookout residents also felt the strength of this type of thunderstorm.
Biscayne Village Homes Destroyed In Freak Storm, Residents Get Help Over the weekend, Minister of National Emergency Management and Area Representative for Belize Rural North Hon Edmond Castro led a NEMO response team in the village of Biscayne where a freak storm, which struck late Saturday afternoon April 22, 2017 around 5:00 PM, affected nine families.
Three homes were destroyed beyond repair and six others were significantly damaged, most of the families losing their roofs and much of their belongings. Fortunately, there was no loss of life or significant human injury resulting from the storm.
Sudden Storm Lashes Biscayne, Rips Through Homes
A freak thunderstorm swept through parts of Biscayne, Belize District over the weekend. Though not unusual, it left in its passage considerable damages to property, fortunately, there were no injuries reported. The storm had been forecasted, but residents did not expect its severity. Today, we found them picking up the pieces. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.