The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) hereby informs the public that the 2021 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season has officially opened. As the hurricane season starts, Belizeans are reminded to remain alert for tropical cyclone development.
The outlook for the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season is for 13 to 20 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes, and three to five major hurricanes. This does not mean that all of those systems, if developed as predicted, will affect Belize. However, it only takes one to affect us negatively. Therefore, we must continually increase our state of readiness.
The public is hereby advised to review emergency plans for family, ministry/department and business continuity. In preparation, the public must clean drains, trim trees that pose danger to power lines and homes, secure roofs, windows, and doors. Additionally, persons who live along the coast and in low-lying areas, which are flood-prone, or in homes that cannot withstand tropical cyclones (i.e. tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes) should identify a shelter for evacuation. If you plan to evacuate when Belize is threatened by a tropical cyclone, please leave early.
NEMO thanks all public officers and uniform services for going beyond the call of duty in contributing to the relief efforts last year. Furthermore, NEMO thanks its local, regional and international partners who contributed in countless ways to provide relief assistance for the affected population.
Belizeans are reminded to stay alert, be prepared, listen to and adhere to the official advisories and weather bulletins from NEMO and the National Meteorological Service.
NEMO has approximately 300 shelters ready for anyone who needs to evacuate their area. But just as last year, COVID is still a problem. But Defour explained that they have strengthened their COVID protocols while inside the shelter and are working with the Ministry of Health to ensure the safety of everyone. He is also encouraging Belizeans to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Today, 1st June marks the official start of the 2021 hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin. The season runs from 1st June to 30th November each year. However, the formation of tropical cyclones is possible at any time of the year, as shown by the formation of tropical storm Ana in late May. The formation of this system marks the seventh consecutive year a storm has developed before the official start of the season.
The 2021 forecast is suggesting that tropical cyclone activity will be above normal in the Atlantic Basin (North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico). The prediction is for there to be 13 to 20 named storms, of those six to 10 are expected to become hurricanes and three to six are expected to become major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger). Using the updated 1991 to 2020 climatology, an average season in the Atlantic Basin now consists of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
The main factors that are indicating an active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season are:
(1) No El Niño is expected this year, therefore, this factor will not contribute to the suppression of tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic basin.
(2) Warmer than average sea surface temperatures are expected by the peak of the season in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, which tends to favour hurricane development.
(3) Weaker vertical wind shear
What Does this Mean for Belize?
Seasonal predictions give us an indication of how active a particular hurricane season is expected to be but it does not tell us when a particular hurricane will develop or where it will track once developed. One or more of the 13 to 20 named storms forecast to develop this season could hit the country or none at all. Therefore, history teaches us, as a nation located in such a vulnerable area, we should be prepared each year no matter what the forecast is.
The National Meteorological Service (NMS) of Belize under the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management will use its team of experts along with all assets at its disposal, including its recently repaired and now functioning doppler radar, to monitor and track developing systems and alert the National Emergency Management Organization and the public in a timely manner should such a system pose a threat to Belize. The NMS advises members of the public to review their family emergency plans and to be prepared for any eventuality during the 2021 Hurricane Season.
Managing Shelters and COVID
NEMO and Met service breaks down Belize's preparedness and what to expect for this hurricane season
================== NHRMC Prepares for the 2021 Hurricane Season
On Friday, May 28, 2021, the National Human Resource Management Committee (NHRMC) held its first meeting in preparation for the 2021 Hurricane Season.
According to Part III, Section 6 (5) of the Disaster Preparedness Response Act (the Act), Chapter 145 of the Laws of Belize (Revised Edition 2011) establishes the National Human Resource Management Committee. The NHRMC is to allocate appropriate human resources to serve as responders for emergency management duties.
Mr. Rolando Zetina, CEO in the Ministry of the Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform and chairperson of the NHRMC, expressed his gratitude to the men and women on the committee who have served selflessly over the past years. He emphasized how important the role of each public officer is during times of emergency.
“Public servants have had to think quickly and creatively during times of disaster, and many have put their lives at risk during these times in order to continue serving the public. The citizens of Belize can rest assured that this committee will ensure that citizens’ safety and needs are looked after. The work begins now,” Mr. Zetina stated.
The NHRMC is made up of the following persons:
- Chairperson, NHRMC - Mr. Rolando Zetina, CEO, Ministry of the Public Service - Liaison Officer - Ms. Adriana Gonzalez, administrative officer, Ministry of the Public Service - HR Coordinator, Corozal - Ms. Arisia Brown, finance officer, Corozal Sub-Treasury - HR Coordinator, Orange Walk - Mr. Carlos Contreras, finance officer, Orange Walk Sub-Treasury - Zone Coordinator, Belize Rural (North) - Ms. Sherilock Humes, first class clerk, Belize Tax Service - Zone Coordinator, Belize Rural (West) - Ms. June Sanker, cultural officer, Ministry of Education - Zone Coordinator, Belize Rural (Belrive) - Ms. Felicia Leslie, senior secretary, Supreme Court - Zone Coordinator, Belize City (North) - Mr. James Gabriel, Postmaster General - Zone Coordinator, Belize City (East) - Ms. Diedra Lopez, secretary III, Belize Postal Service - Zone Coordinator, Belize City (West) - Ms. Rosalie Burgess, secretary I, QUADS - Zone Coordinator, Belize City (South) - Mr. Elvis Franklin, education officer, Ministry of Education - HR Coordinator, San Pedro - Mr. Leodan Torres, finance officer, Sub-Treasury - HR Coordinator, Belmopan - Ms. Dorla Hewlett, senior secretary - HR Coordinator, Cayo - Ms. Jacqueline Trapp, finance officer, Cayo Sub-Treasury - Asst. HR Coordinator, Cayo - Ms. Glenda Valdez, administrative officer, Ministry of the Public Service - HR Coordinator, Stann Creek - Ms. Cynthia Villagran, finance officer, Dangriga Sub-Treasury - HR Coordinator, Toledo - Mr. Pastor Perez, finance officer, Punta Gorda Sub-Treasury
The citizens of Belize can be confident that this committee will ensure that their safety is of primary concern and their basic needs will be addressed.
NO Greek Alphabet this year. If the "Standard list" is exhausted... The "Supplemental list" will take effect.
HERE ARE SOME TERMS YOU MAY SEE HERE DURING THE HURRICANE SEASON:
Centre: The central position of a system at the surface...usually defined by the location of minimum wind or minimum pressure.
Eyewall: An organized band or ring of cumulonimbus clouds that surround the eye, or light-wind CENTRE of a tropical cyclone.
Hurricane: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind is more than 73 mph.
Hurricane Warning: An announcement that sustained winds of more than 73 mph associated with a tropical cyclone are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours
Hurricane Watch: An announcement that sustained winds of more than 73 mph associated with a tropical cyclone are possible within the specified area within 48 hours
Invest (Investigative Area): An area of disturbed weather being investigated for potential tropical cyclone development by collecting specialized data
ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone): An area that encircles the globe near the equator where the northeast trade winds from the northern hemisphere converge with southeast winds from the southern hemisphere and forces the air up into the atmosphere
Major Hurricane: A hurricane classified as Category 3 or higher (above 110 mph)
Maximum Sustained Surface Wind: The highest one-minute average wind associated with a system at a particular point in time.
Potential Tropical Cyclone: A disturbance that is not yet a tropical cyclone, but poses the threat of bringing tropical storm or hurricane conditions to land areas within 48 hours.
Rapid Intensification: An increase in the maximum sustained winds of a tropical cyclone of at least 34 mph in a 24hr period.
Storm Surge: An abnormal rise in sea level accompanying an intense storm, and whose height is the difference between the observed level of the sea surface and the level that would have occurred in the absence of the cyclone. Storm surge is usually estimated by subtracting the normal or astronomic high tide from the observed storm tide.
Tropical Cyclone: A warm-core non-frontal synoptic-scale cyclone, originating over tropical or subtropical waters, with organized deep convection and a closed surface wind circulation about a well-defined center. Once formed, a tropical cyclone is maintained by the extraction of heat energy from the ocean at high temperatures and heat export at the low temperatures of the upper troposphere.
Tropical Depression: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed is 38 mph or less.
Tropical Disturbance: A discrete tropical weather system of apparently organized convection...generally 100 to 300 nm in diameter - originating in the tropics or subtropics, having a non-frontal migratory character, and maintaining its identity for 24 hours or more.
Tropical Storm: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed ranges from above 38 mph to 73 mph
Tropical Storm Warning: An announcement that sustained winds between 38 and 74 mph associated with a tropical cyclone are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours
Tropical Storm Watch: An announcement that sustained winds between 38 and 74 mph associated with a tropical cyclone are possible within the specified area within 48 hours
Tropical Wave: A trough or cyclonic curvature maximum in the trade-wind easterlies. The wave may reach maximum amplitude in the lower middle troposphere.