The 2021 hurricane season begins in less than a week and already, the first storm has been named. Ana was formed last week, but was predicted to be a weak, short-lived storm.
Still, after the damage caused by Eta and Iota late last year, the Ministry of Disaster Risk Management and NEMO are getting ahead of the season.
Today they held a hurricane sensitization session in Belmopan to inform the public of their safety plans and our colleagues from PlusTV attended.
The Minister, Orlando Habet, assured the public that they have been working to prepare for what may be a volatile hurricane season. But, just like every year, the MET office doesn't have a working radar. But Chief MET officer, Ronald Gordon, stated that well, they don't need it.
June 1 signals the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. To this end, Ambassador Stuart Leslie, Cabinet Secretary, led a briefing and planning session with the caucus of the chief executive officers to prepare for the 2021 hurricane season.
At the session, Ronald Gordon, chief meteorology officer, provided an overview of the forecast for this year’s hurricane season while Col. (Ret’d) Shelton Defour, national emergency coordinator for NEMO, presented on the state of preparedness.
The CEOs serve as chairs of various national committees including search and rescue, transport and evacuation, damage assessment, relief and supplies management, among others. During the session, the CEOs proposed further policy and practical mechanisms through which to strengthen the integrated disaster management for Belize.
As is the norm during this time, all Belizeans are advised to tune in to the weather forecasts and prepare for the likelihood of a storm. The hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.
Above Average Hurricane Season Projected
Today, the National Emergency Management Organization hosted the press at the NEMO headquarters to talk about the hurricane season and preparedness in light of the Tropical Atlantic Hurricane Season opening in less than a week. Weather officials are predicting an above average season with eighteen named storms, of which the first on the list Ana has already formed off the coast of Bermuda. Chief Meteorologist Ronald Gordon breaks down what the season will look like and some of the factors influencing the prediction of high tropical cyclone activity.
Ronald Gordon, Chief Meteorologist
“All the indications are, the factors are there, for it to be an above normal season and when I refer to those factors I refer to the warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Basin especially the sub-tropical Atlantic and the other factor which is very important is whether you have an El Nino or La Nina situation. Without going into details, El Nino situation typically suppresses Tropical Storm activity or Tropical Cyclone activity in our region where as La Nina does the reverse, it enhances it. The indications are, we are either going to be in a weak La Nina or neutral conditions so that will not be a suppressing factor and coupled with the fact that we have warmer than normal Atlantic sea surface temperatures. We expect this season to be above normal. Normal now is fourteen named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes, using the1991-2020 climatology as the baseline. This year most centers are forecasting about eighteen named storms and about eight hurricanes and in terms of major hurricanes the forecast is for there to be about normal major hurricanes this season.”