Belize Escaped Unscathed Through 2017 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season
The 2017 Atlantic Basin Hurricane season ended today. Now it might feel that it went by easily because Belize wasn't hit by any hurricanes - all we had to complain about were heavy rains and the usual flooding in some areas. But, while we were spared, the Caribbean buckled under the harsh blows of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Today at the NEMO office in Belmopan Deputy Chief Meteorologist Catherine Cumberbatch and NEMO Minister Edmond Castro gave us an overview of this year's season. The NEMO team was thankful for a season that showed Belize mercy.
Catherine Cumberbatch, Deputy Chief Meteorologist
"The forecast for the 2017 hurricane season was for above normal activity and that is just what happened. For this season we had 17 named storms and of those 17 named storms, 10 of them became hurricanes and out of those 10 hurricanes, I think it was 6 or 7, it was 6 of them that became major hurricanes and when we refer to major hurricanes we are talking category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the two strongest systems that formed during this season was Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria."
"We saw a bit of flooding in different parts of the country."
"Yes and those flooding were not related to those two activities that came in our area, remember we were in the hurricane season which is our rainy season too so certain parts of the country, it is a norm when we have these rains, which is a norm, we have flooding."
Hon. Edmond Castro, NEMO Minister
"The last flooding we had was the rain that came from out west that penetrated through my constituency in Crooked Tree and the Belize River Valley and we also had in Jalacte and in San Igncaio and we had down South and so as a precaution not to have the amount of flooding in those different parts of the country we have the NEMO backhoe that goes from north to south to clear out most of the drains and to make the path easier for the water to pass. What used to happen in the past is that some of the drains are clogged and so it created other problems for us by washing away roads, washing away culverts and washing away bridges and so on."
"Today marks the closing of this hurricane season and starting tomorrow we starts to work on the preparation for 2018 to make sure that we can re-engineer, re -adjust how we did and what we did and so on so we constantly have to be on our P's and Q's."
"I think we have the best well run organization not just in Belize but in the Caribbean and in the region and we would like that to continue to do good work as a shining example for the rest of the region and we can't accomplish that without having good people in place."
The NEMO team are already planning for the 2018 hurricane season.