Tonight, there are two tropical weather systems that experts are currently tracking. The first is Hurricane Fiona, a Category 4 storm heading in the direction of North America, which swiped the Turks and Caicos Islands and is barreling towards Bermuda as it makes its way to Eastern Canada.
But, another disorganized system of low pressure is what's most pressing for Belize tonight. It's currently all the way out in the Eastern Caribbean about 150 miles east Northeast of Curacao. But, over the next few days, it is expected to become a stronger, more organized storm, and some of the forecast models are predicting that it will pass near Belize as it affects the northern Yucatan Peninsula by next week.
So, how close to Belize is this storm forecasted to make landfall? And how will it affect our weather? Well, that's what we asked Ronald Gordon, the Chief Meteorologist, this afternoon during a Zoom press briefing. He said that it's currently not a direct threat but that citizens need to keep a close eye on this weather system's path over the next few days:
Ronald Gordon - Chief Meteorologist
"We are closely monitoring what has become an area of low pressure, just north of South America, near the ABC Islands. And the system has a high chance of becoming a tropical depression within the next 2 to 5 days, as it generally moves to the west-northwest across the Eastern Caribbean Sea and enters the Central Caribbean Sea. Currently, the system is disorganized, as there are strong upper-level winds over it at the moment, preventing it from becoming organized and developing. Those upper-level winds are causing what we call high wind shear, basically disrupting the thunderstorms from forming a closed circulation. However, all indications are that the wind shear is going to weaken as the system enters the Central Caribbean Sea, and therefore, it will have a better chance of becoming a tropical depression, as I mentioned previously. Now, in terms of the track, it is moving to the west-northwest, and eventually, it will move a bit more to the west. Then, the forecast becomes quite divergent in about 3 or 4 days after it enters the Northwest Caribbean Sea. Some of the models take the system toward the northern Yucatan Peninsula - north of Belize, by the way - while others take it further away from the country, toward the western tip of Cuba. Therefore, given that there is a widespread in these models, it indicates that there is a high level of uncertainty at the moment. The reason for this is that you don't have a closed circulation. You don't have a low for the model to track. After the system has developed and becomes a tropical depression, we will have more confidence about where it will go because the models will be able to track it better. So, the advice to the general public is to, of course, stay tuned to official information on the system coming from the National Meteorological Service. And if there is a need for an advisory, that will be done in conjunction with NEMO. We're not there yet. There is not even depression out there at the moment. It is an area of low pressure, currently disorganized, but most of the forecast models indicate that it will likely develop into a tropical depression, a storm, or even a hurricane. And as I said, repeating again in terms of track, most of them take it north of the country. The question is how far north of us it goes."
He adds that if the disorganized weather system in the Eastern Caribbean impacts Belizean weather, that will take place next Tuesday.
As regards the current weather, the Chief Meteorologist says that you should expect downpours tonight going into tomorrow morning, and then Friday night, going into Saturday morning. These bouts of bad weather are caused by what he refers to as the "Pacific Monsoon Through", which is producing moisture, cloudiness, and weather instability over our area.