|LINKS TO HURRICANE MITCH INFORMATION:||http://hurricane.terrapin.com/ATL-13A/index.html|
Tuesday Evening, 10pm
The latest computer models Tuesday morning show the massive storm turning northward, with winds weakening somewhat to around 160 miles per hour. This would mean Honduras, the narrow Caribbean Coast of Guatemala, and Belize get only a glancing blow with Mitch‰s main blows striking the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Many veterans of past Central American killer storms, however, are taking no chances and are evacuating outlying cayes and low-lying coastal areas.
the initial motion is 245/05 based on the past 12 hours of motion. None of the guidance models show a continuation of a southerly component of motion. The nogaps model shows slow west to north motion for 72 hours. The ukmet is westward about 4 knots for 72 hours. The GFDL is slow west to northwestward similar to the lbar but slower. The 12z aviation model 500 mb forecast is similar to the GFDL. The official track forecast is shifted to the left of the previous advisory and shows a Landfall for the first time...on the belize coast in 36 to 48 hours. The location of Landfall is Uncertain. Honduras....guatemala and the Yucatan Peninsula are all still potential Landfall locations.
forecast positions and max winds
initial 27/2100z 16.8n 85.8w 135 kts 12hr vt 28/0600z 16.5n 86.5w 130 kts 24hr vt 28/1800z 16.8n 87.3w 125 kts 36hr vt 29/0600z 17.2n 88.0w 120 kts INLAND 48hr vt 29/1800z 17.8n 88.5w 90 kts 72hr vt 30/1800z 18.5n 89.0w 60 kts
Click here for images of tracking path and weather map
EVERYONE: contact your local news agencies, to try to pressure forces to get the people off the island. Give the news folks my email ([email protected]) and phone: 541-686-0277 if they need more information. ANY HAM OPERATORS IN SAN PEDRO OR THE BELIZE AREA THAT ARE ON THE NET, PLEASE CONTACT ME SO IF THE PHONES GO DOWN WE CAN CONTINUE TO SUPPLY INFORMATION. ANYONE know any ham frequencies in use currently?
Rick and Norma Paine
She went back to a seat with the five children and cried, she said. As she watched the last flight take off. Then TACA started to fill up. This was a flight to Houston. Diane did not know what to do. It was raining outside. It had been two days she had been at the International Airport with 5 children, with no expectation of such a long day and no food for them. The news was at it's worst, with Hurricane Mitch over 185 mph winds bearing down on Belize. Category 5. She knew the building would not stand through that size of hurricane, The taxi drivers were refusing charter fares to Belmopan. The road was jammed with people fleeing from the port Belize City. Then with the Airport terminal curiously emptying as the last few started to board the TACA flight, Mr. Awe stopped by and said his family had just gone on the Embassy flight to Miami and he had cancelled 5 seats on TACA. She should go tell the manager and claim those seats. She was taken by TACA staff to see Mr. Coye, the manager. She said, he was the utmost sympathetic and he would look after her and to just go back and wait. Finally, they told her to bring the children, took her American Airlines tickets for the flight that never showed up. The phantom flight! This was an exchange and she ended up in Houston, Texas, with five kids. People looked at her strangely. She tried to get on Continental out of Houston, for Miami, but they were insisting on $500 USA for each of them, or $3000 USA currency. She did not know what to do. In Houston, they were all sitting in the Terminal, when someone talked to her and suggested she go to American Airlines counter and explain the circumstances. This she did. American Airlines in Houston, said they had been doing this a lot lately for people from Belize. No problem! Got her on a flight with the 5 children to Miami. It was not until today, that she realized that the American Airlines clerk in Houston had taken her RETURN tickets to Belize from Miami. Whether in error in the rush, or for payment, she does not know. But now she has no return tickets from Miami for the six of them. The saga goes on. She is to go down to American Airlines in Miami tomorrow and talk to them. I only hope it all works out okay.
In the meantime, she has much praise for the kindness of Mr. Awe and Mr. Coye at Taca. Will send them thankyou cards, when this is all over. Myself, I could appreciate the bedlam at the airport, but that Embassy flight man, should have had more patience, personality and a few other things and done some explaining. No matter how harassed! Very disappointing and unprofessional behavior. He was an obnoxious rude person.
They were boarding up the airport and it was empty even as she waited for the TACA flight to leave. She said, there were two empty seats on it when she finally boarded for Houston, it was that full. TACA emptied the terminal, even as it got boarded up for the Hurricane.
God be with you all. Anyone who's fell in love with belize has you all in their hearts right now.
DO NOT USE GOES-8 yet for estimating the location of Mitch..they have the camera back on line but the satellite has not stabilized, it's alignment is unstable...the coastlines are not aligned correctly on the shots... Mitch is still N of the coast...
Beto also does the water filtration and purification business. I don't know what type of purification and filtration system he uses but it might be worth saving.
The high school in P.G. is the designated shelter area. It is located in a fairly high area just behind Tony's house and west(?) of the airstrip about 3/4 mile inland from front street.
All the piers in San Pedro are gone. There are families still in San Pedro who refused to leave although it was mandatory. Their families here are quite worried but helpless.
My phones lines and e-mail are quite busy as we are all trying to keep in touch from all over the world and sharing info about our loved ones iin Belize and comfort each other in this scary time.
At this time we must begin to think about getting emergency supplies, such as food stuff, to Belize as soon as the airport is open.
No injuries. No serious home damages except for those already noted.
Kind of destroys your faith in humanity, no?
Surely there are those who could streamline the operation, who have been through it before and could provide an efficient blueprint. Email me if you're the one or if you know someone.
The Hurricane is circling and gone south toward the Honduras coast and eastward to the Bay Islands. The heavy mountains on the Honduras Coast are cutting it down in speed. All to the good, so long as it stays close to the mountainous terrain. Flooding and mud slides played hell in Hurricane Fifi in Honduras and the British Army out of Belize did a lot of rescue operations over there. I was talking to one ham radio operator on the Hurricane net at the time and he was watching houses go floating buy on the swollen river with people on the roof tops. Lot of people died from snake bite, due to the snakes swimming in the flood waters and then climbing on the houses. He eventually went floating away himself and off the air. Never did hear how it worked out.
MV SeaSport is 4.1 nautical miles up the Sibun River and Triple Jay anchored next to SeaSport. Sibun River has risen about 10 - 12 feet, but where SeaSport and Triple J are anchored, river only risen about 2 feet. This info per wife of Captain of SeaSport. Trying to reach Captain of SeaSport, but no luck so far.
A SLOW SOUTHWESTWARD TO WESTWARD MOTION IS EXPECTED IN 12 TO 24 HOURS. HOWEVER...THE CENTER OF THE HURRICANE IS COMING VERY CLOSE TO THE COAST AND HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE SPREADING ONSHORE OVER HONDURAS AND THE ADJACENT BAY ISLANDS. HAM RADIO REPORTS INDICATE SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE ON THE ISLAND OF ROATAN.
You remove the injectors, pour 90 weight lube in the piston tops, replace injectors. Then use plastic and tape and seal off the air intake pipe and exhaust pipe.
When the sea resides, you remove the injectors, crank over the engine and blow out the 90 weight lube and change your diesel fuel and filters and clean out the lines. Then start her up. You also need to wash down the engine with fresh water within 12 hours to prevent oxidation and corrosion. Done it a couple of times on boats I owned.
No reason why BEL has to lose a whole bunch of generator diesels. The generators themselves usually need replacing, but not always if you hose them down with fresh water and put an air dryer on them.
We pray for all of you who remain. I will be joining a medical team coordinated by Dr. Mernitz, of San Pedro and Indianna USA once we are cleared to enter the country. We are tuned in for as long as we can be with you....
All our best and may god be with you!
Reports from Bob..Rainy , not much wind yet... he told me the water is up to the Tiki bar ,which means another few inches it will flood our ground area. we are on a peninsula with the black river only 400 yds west of us..probable wil be total flooding.
this storm ,when it starts to roll again looks like it wil head to our coordinates ,although to early to tell.. it seems it wil avoid our barrier reef which is still north about 50 miles.. not good.
if it looses a little more strength we can handle the wind ,except for the roofs. when the sea rises and the waves start then who knows.
i will try to call him later and send a report to you all..
6:00 pm BZ Tuesday
Contact confirms all piers/docks and dive shops gone. Wave action is causing severe erosion. First floor of a home near "Boca Del Rio" and the beach opened up by wave action and furniture being washed away. So far no other significant home damage. Home of Dave Barrows receiving severe wave action and erosion at foundation. From Sun Breeze to near Ramons unpassable from the beach side.
Winds are relatively calm, big damage at this point is wave action.
BTL says they will stay online until storm knocks lines out.
Ray Auxillou, 5:47 p.m. BT Tuesday Belize City still reporting normal weather. Hurricane winds should be first felt around 1 to 3 p.m. But the real brunt will probably occur in Belize City the port town and Dangriga the other port town to the south around the morning in later daylight hours. This will help!
The latitudes of different places are coming out from inputs from list serve members on the bz-culture list as different for different places. It would seem, if some of these corrections for the list serve are correct, the Hurricane is headed to landfall between Dangriga and Belize City. With the Belize City town supposed to be at 17.30 north.
The Hurricane Center in Miami and their Hurricane position reports were not very good. The guy on the phone was saying the Hurricane is moving West North West, but when I pointed out to him the advisory positions were showing it was moving South West, he changed his mind back and forth and passed me on to his supervisor. The supervisor was also confused. I think the general West North West prediction was television news crap they feed USA audiences, who don't give a crap about which way the eye is going. Of course down in the Caribbean and here in the country of Belize, it is a life and death situation and the movement and allocation of scarce limited resources depends on accurate information. The confusion out of the Hurricane Center in direction and location, with the conflict with the Hunter plane report #2 which gave the eye position at 18.1 N latitude really confused them. And the left hand did not know what the right hand was telling the public.
Down in the Caribbean just a few hours from devastation and landfall the 70 mile discrepancy in Hurricane Eye location was really disappointing. Compounded by the satellite malfunction and no satellite photo's to double check this nonsense coming out of the Hurricane Center in Miami. It being too late to do anything about it now, as nightfall is here. But they certainly need to review their procedures at the Hurricane Center.
In the meantime, we are going to assume the noon check by the Hunter plane location on the position of the eye of Hurricane Mitch is in error. The direction of the course of the hurricane out of the Hurricane Center in Miami is confused and uncertain, but the advisory is the best position we have. It would seem this indicates a landfall between the port town of Dangriga and the port town of Belize City. Since there is still 12 to 14 hours to go. A lot of zigs and zags can occur.
My daughter, Yvonne Patterson, one of the students, left San Pedro on one of the last flights yesterday with her husband Mike. They flew on the embassy flight to Miami and are on their way home to Phoenix. She phoned from Miami and is concerned about other students who were left in San Pedro last night. All our family, church and friends are praying for everyone's safety.
Looks like its heading straight for northern Honduras, but they predict it to move towards Belize :( It is weakening though.
I called Nellie and was able to speak with her just now. She has around 80 people staying in her house! All the piers are gone up and down the beach. No dive shops, no piers, no nothing. There is no more beach. She still has power (but her home is on Middle Street, which is a couple of blocks off the beach.)
Update on BTL: They are NOT turning off the phones. However, the phones run on electricity and she said that they have about 10 hours to go on the backup once the electricity is shut down, with maybe another 4 hours residual. So we may be out of touch with San Pedro in 14 hours unless a miracle happens (or unless somebody down there has a short wave radio.)
Talking to my sister in Belize City right now. she is staying on Albert St.
No winds yet
Very little rain
Power still on
Telephone still on.
But this can change rapidly.
There were a number of students on the Continental Flight 764 that I was on. If I recall correctly, the two next to me were a Scherier and a Levy, they had questions about filling out the declaration form. The Scherier (or something like that) gentleman was trying to decide whether to visit friends in Tampa/Ft. Meyers or Miami. I think the other gentleman was going to Detroit.
Also on the flight were:
- two male students that were jokingly referred to as "Iranians" - dark hair, dark features
- a blonde gentleman, looks like a body builder, wearing a swimming club t-shirt from I think "Suwanvee" or something like that
- an oriental looking gentleman wearing brown khakis - a young lady of what appeared to be Indian decent with a male hispanic/indian.
These were all joking together during the flight making comments about financial aide, grades, partying, and other fun stuff. They made reference to two more in first class. No one mentioned fellow students being left behind. They were loud and boisterous, the one next to me obviously the class clown and popular.
I called Nellie Gomez just now...she was busy but I spoke to a member of her family and was told that everyone was OK and so far, the only damage in San Pedro has been to the beach and structures over the water (piers, docks, dive shops, etc.) I don't know if they chose to stay or were unable to get off the island, but hopefully, they will be OK (they have a large and solid 2 story cement block home).
Just talked to Alan Forman at the Coral Beach Dive Shop. Winds are calm, waves are heavy, 6-7 feet waves breaking on the beach. All piers downtown are gone. Is there a way to say that without crying? All diveshops on piers are gone. Tackle Box bar is breaking up in the waves as we speak. Alan says the problem is a domino effect, one dive shop breaks up, blows into the next one and breaks it up. The same thing could happen with the houses he says. 6,000 got off yesterday, but darkness came too soon and they could not get everyone off. The planes were running non stop with the boats, but its too hard to get 8,000 people off so quickly.
They are gathering the remaining folks together, the ones that don't want to stay at home, and are trying to put them into 15 concrete homes. The hurricane remains 125 miles offshore.
As of 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, Casa Caribe Resort lost both piers and the dive shop. We have also lost our sea wall. At 4:00 p.m. Monday the waves were breaking 30 - 40 feet over the reef. Ken and the rest of the staff are still on the island. There is no way off the island so we can only pray they will be O.K. I have also heard that Journey's End has lost their dive shop.
Chris H. Bumann, 5:00pm BT Tuesday
I am part of the CONTINENTAL AIRLINE CREW who flew the the first flight from BZE-IAH yesterday. ( 10/26/98 ) We had a group on there that was from I think Stanford. I heard one of the passengers mention that not all of this group got on the flights from San Pedro. ( Do to that they had not enough seats on Tropic/ cancellation of reservations. ) There was probably 12 - 15 students. Several came on at the last minute. Also the folling flight went out full on CONTINENTAL.
4:52 p.m. BT Tuesday evening
Joe and Carlos got in today from Caye Caulker. The sea was already about 5 feet above normal. Much of the front part of the island is flooded and washed out.
The waves on the trip into the mainland were 8 to 9 feet in the inner sea route over the shallow water. Short choppy and rough.
The view of the Barrier Reef under sunny skies was of a tremendous wall of white tumbling surf where the barrier reef normally is. Waves rocking into the island.
Wendy had gone into the mainland on Monday and she went to Orange Walk early 5:30 this morning. Got back to Ladyville with her three children. Then took them to the international Airport a few miles away to help Diane with her three kids and Tina's one. Diane was expecting to get on a flight out. No luck! Even with the extra huge gobs of money Sharon in Miami spent for business first class, Diane got bumped again. Wendy however, was surprised to find the Embassy flight and so she got to board the plane with her three kids, and I think Tina's one. Not sure if I got that right. Maybe not, Tyler my grandson with Tina. We shall see what we shall see. We Auxillou's have lost everything a few times already, so a new start is not that big a thing. Inconvenience more than anything. The last she saw of Diane was a chartered taxi to Belmopan, 55 miles away in a blinding driving rain with her three kids. Not sure where Tina, Joe, Carlos and her son Tyler are now. In the stream of refugees somewhere.
Marlon Kuylon, my son-in-law was reported to be in Belmopan already and Diane was trying to link up. Dangriga was under an evacuation order. It will certainly flood out and their new house on the sea front is probably going to go. I hope they have insurance. Knowing Diane, I expect something. The refugee situation in Belmopan and San Ignacio is certainly going to give the GOB pause to consider building some more buildings to be multi-purpose, but also serve for disaster shelters 25 years away, for next time.
Got this from Wendy who is now at her Sisters home Sharon, in Miami. She came in on the Embassy flight. Night is falling in Belize and the Hurricane landfall is only eight or ten hours away. With it's jigging around, no telling where it will hit. But, it has reduced to category 4 which seems light compared to what it was yesterday. But still Category 4 is a hell of a lot heavier than a Category 2, which is the normal inbetween big ones we get and mostly ignore. Probably be equivalent to Hurricane Hattie. Though the damage area will probably be reduced in width and the further south it hits, the less damage to heavily populated areas. I'm sorry for Placentia and Dangriga and Hopkins, but we shall see what we shall see. Swells should give a big tidal surge even in Punta Gorda when the sea piles up into the Livingston Bight. No wind expected in Punta Gorda, but flood damage and waves, yes!
Susan Garcia just spoke by phone with Larry Thorpe, who lives just north of the river on Ambergris Caye. His power just went off less than an hour ago, but he still has radio (and obviously, phone service is still on.) He has not yet experienced flooding (not sure how far off the beach his house is). North of San Pedro, the elevation is a bit higher so maybe they will have less flooding. The winds are not yet too bad. He's hanging in, says he made the decision many years ago not to leave if a big storm came. He's quite calm.
Looks like its dipped a little south, and Roatan off the Honduran coast is getting hit.
Tue Oct 27 1998 15:16 BT
Powerful Hurricane Mitch continues to lumber inexorably toward the country of Belize and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Mitch, a category four monster, is packing maximum sustained winds of 155 mph with gusts to 190 mph. It seems less likely now that Mitch will veer northwestward and more likely that it will smash into the coast of Belize in about 36 to 48 hours. The storm may continue to weaken slowly since the southern part of its circulation is over the rough terrain of Honduras. An island just north of the Honduran coast was reporting gusts to 80 mph this afternoon.
A group of 30 students from St. Matthews who left the island yesterday is currently unaccounted for. We are sure they are safe, but would like to know their exact whereabouts, where they went when they left the island. Please click here to email any information.
Tues 2:42 BT
Waves now hitting Barrier Reef Drive (Front Street) in areas.
Belize City, 2:40 pm Tuesday
Just recieved word from a lady via E-mail (From this AM) According to her, the sky is black in Belize city and the wind is picking up! She went shopping yesterday in the city and she said that it was Chaos! For many, many Belizeans, this is their first life-threatening storm (Or event, for that matter) The patients from the city hospitals have been moved inland to wherever they found space. In Burrell boom, the village is boarded up and awaiting the storm. They usually do not have a problem with floods, unless your home is close to the river, which has been known to raise several stories! It has been difficult to get through since this morning, but hopefully I can get an email through. Electricity will be shut off the evening at 5:00pm That is when, I think, that reality will set in.
Tuesday 2:40pm BT
No reported injuries.
No homes have been damaged. It seems the smaller old wooden homes are not even wavering, the newer larger ones creak.
Most docks south of Holiday Hotel either partially or completely destroyed. Belize Yacht Club's gas facility is gone! Ramon Village has lost a portion of their dock. Holiday Hotel's dock tip continues to sway but still survives. Bottom Time Dive shop is lifted with the wave action and resets on the dock - not expected to last much longer. Tackle Box is holding up strong.
Winds are strong, last minute boarding up has become impossible. Rains are light to medium. Waves are incredible!!
2:09 p.m. BT Tuesday
The noon report from the Hunter aircraft, places the eye of Hurricane Mitch, now at 17.15 north and 86.8 West.
The eye though has moved north considerable since daybreak, according to this aircraft report. About 40 miles in all. So the eye of Hurricane Mitch would be around level with Caye Chapel or Caye Caulker. If it continues to move north, the lesser damage from sustained winds are on this side that will brush the coast. This means the Cayes along the Barrier Reef and the Atolls will suffer the brunt of the damage. Reports out of the mainland, seem to indicate taht they are not aware of any Hurricane yet, as to weather indications on the ground. Other than some feeder bands with rain showers.
If this report is correct and Mitch is indeed moving northward, the wind would be from the North East and North. That will not stop tide surge and hurricane wave action. But it will seriously lower the damage. The islands and reef face the sea to the East. Any incoming damage would be mitigated by the angle of approach of waves and wind. Mainland Belize, might even escape any effects thanks to the offshore reef and islands.
As to the discrepancy in the position of the eye, I was working off Hurricane data that had it at latitude 17.4 N yesterday and was around 17.1 N around this morning. The photo helped to make your own judgement. The eye was about 10 miles wide, so a discrepancy of 10 miles would be permissable. According to the aircraft report the eye is just off Lighthouse Reef Atoll at the north point and about 30 miles east of it.
Ship reports coming in, say that the Hurricane is pushing a wave of water in front of it, 20 feet high. Normally, known as the storm surge. In Belize City the port town in 1961, it peaked through the town at 14 feet above the ground, or about 16 feet above the level of the river through town. The next day you could see the mark, by a band of cockroachs around wooden houses, roughly three feet in height and around 12 inches thick. Interesting to see, that there are roughly 20,000 cockroaches in the woodwork of the ordinary house in Belize. They counted them one time in a statistical study and the number and image of those floating cockroaches consolidating in a huge brown band around the wooden houses that remained standing in the port Belize City, I will never forget. They stayed there for nearly 14 hours, before disappearing. At first I thought it was dirt and mud. I had 36 pieces of glass taken out of my feet by the Navy doctor at the Bliss Institute after a week. Every time I went to Belize City for supplies for Caye Caulker, I would lose my tennis in the deep mud that lay over the city streets, within a few steps and just had to go around barefoot.
From Susan Garcia, 2:22 pm Tuesday BZ
I have been on phone all morning trying to get somebody to answer the call for evacuation help for Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. The people who want to be evacuated would like the US military to retrieve them. I am sure that this is do-able, at least for the next few hours if the US govt. gives a damn.
I called my congressman and the US State Dept. State Dept. supposedly has a "task force" set up to help Belize but the man who is supposedly in charge, named Steve Vann, told me that "it's the responsibility of the Belize Government to assist its citizens. We chartered a plane to get US citizens out of Belize City and there's nothing more we can do."
I told him that there were several hundred people on two small islands who wanted to leave but couldn't and that I can't believe that the US Army doesn't have boats and planes that can accomplish this. He said "weather conditions do not permit us to assist in that effort. Our job is to wait and see how the situation develops and do what we can do to help Americans." I told him that if we can send personnel, equipment and money to Belize and its neighbors for the "drug war" we ought to be able to do an emergency evacuation to save a few hundred lives. He did not agree. Maybe a flood of calls will make a difference. 202-647-6614 or 6616 or 6617.
I also called the Secretary of State's office to express my desire that the US government immediately initiate an evacuation effort. 202-647-5291. Got put on hold and disconnected.
US Embassy in Belize is 011-501-27-7161. Haven't been able to get through all morning.
Called Miami Herald, talked to a reporter, Winston Townsend, gave him the above info as well as local number in San Pedro that was still answering as of 45 minutes ago. (I don't want to post it because they might get hundreds of calls and they need to keep the line free for emergencies.)
The generosity and concern for the nation of Belize is incredible. Here is a sampling of what I am receiving in the email:
My wife, family and myself are frequent travelers to the Island. I am a member of the San Pedro Lions club and have many many friends on the island! My prayers are with you all! Please keep me posted as long as you can. Please let us know what we can do for San Pedro once the storm has passed! We are San Pedrano's in our hearts.May the prayers of so many concerned around the world be answered, and when this is over we shall work together to rebuild the island. I will replace this page with a message board for how and what to contribute as soon the the accursed Mitch goes away.... Marty
Thank you for your information...I would be willing to come to the island and assist with medical care if needed. Some of our closest friends Beto and Nita Marin and daughters, German and Rosie Allamilla and family are in out thoughts! If you see them ask us them to contact us if they are safe.
Marty I will look forward to meeting you on my next trip to San Pedro. God speed to you my friend!
2:19 pm BZ Tuesday
Hurricane Mitch still a Category 5 Hurricane. Utter devastation still forecast for landfall.
Belize is already getting the first hard winds. The eye is 210 miles to the east and the hurricane has moved about 15 miles south and is not more in line with Sibun River, or just south of Belize City. Still going west at 6 mph, which is about the speed of a person riding a bicycle. The outer hurricane winds are hitting the islands now.
All evacuation has stopped from Caye Caulker and San Pedro. Good news of a sorts. The speed has dropped about 15 to 20 mph. Which takes it from that devastating Tornado type effect to a Hurricane 5 effect. Or about the same as Hurricane Hattie in 1961.
Small hope here, but those still on the Cayes along the reef, now have a 33% chance of surviving, versus 0% chance, under the Tornado type conditions. It will all depend on where it steam rolls over. Where the eye passes. Heavy devastation expected to the north of the eye, about 40 miles out. To the south of the eye, about 15 miles away.
Waves are stupendous in the ocean off the reef. 60 foot waves. But the barrier reef is breaking them somewhat. Though heavy surf and a rising storm surge is still carrying big damaging waves ashore on the islands.
This thing is jigging around a bit, but the latest jig has taken it southward of Belize City. This could change, it is still going to be a bad hurricane, at category 5.
The slower speed means the real hurricane force winds may not reach until 24 hours, or during midday daylight tomorrow. The wind and seas and tidal surge should increase steadily during the rest of today and through tonight. It is going to be a very long next 48 hours. The worst maybe between 9 a.m. and noon tomorrow. But it will be bad enough tonight.
While electricity is gone and television cable on the islands of Caye Caulker and San Pedro, the phones are still working. Contact is still possible for now. That should breakdown sometime tonight.
Tuesday 1:05pm BT
For those concerned Tropic Air's last evacuation flights (all planes) from Belize City of mostly employees that stayed back to help in the evacuation has arrived safely in Guatemala.
One fellow just got off the phone with George Sosa, owner of the Belmopan Hotel. He says it is starting to rain pretty good, but you would never know a hurricane was on the horizon.
1:30 pm BT Tuesday
Finally got through to Belize by phone after several tries. According to one fellow in San Pedro over 5,000 residents were evacuated off the island. His wife and kids went to the mainland but he remained boarding up his house and securing his place. Several residents chose to stay on the island it seems. The weather in San Pedro was "not too good" according to my uncle who's not very big on the dramatics nor very descriptive either, unfortunately. Most boats have been taken out of the sea.
According to his family in San Ignacio, residents in the west are being encouraged to take in people from the coastal areas. Unfortunately, the bridge to San Ignacio was under repair and the temporary one that was in its place is no longer. If flooding is already a problem in Honduras, I'm concerned that the Western Highway won't be passable for very much longer as Mitch gets nearer to Belize -- so if anybody is planning on going west, they should probably already be there or very much on the way.
In Ladyville, the weather a couple hours ago was "sketchy" with heavy ladden clouds and some rain according to my sister who had just returned from Belize city where she went to get some medicine and more supplies. Apparently, some businesses up to an hour ago were still open in Belize City. If, the storm reaches inland, it will probably be late tonight.
12:44 BT Tuesday
Phillip Goldson International Airport is closed. Continental has closed the station and has cancelled flights for Tuesday and Wednesday.
12:13pm BT Tuesday, Belize City
Am talking to Corona del Mar as I type, Helen says a few stumps floating, nice big log out front, debris line from waves running along a line with her front porch, so water level not up too high yet. Her dock is "looking good." Wind at 8 knots, from the NNW, rainfall since 7am .47, Temp 78. City water off since this morning, she's doesn't sound particularly worried at all! One calm lady in a storm! There are 40 ft waves crashing over the sea wall by Playador, and the water is coming into the bar.
11:45am BT Tuesday
Approx 10:00am BT BDF attempted a final flight to the island but could not take off. Phones still working on the island but serious busy signals. Tenneco connection says look for a tide recession then for the surge shortly thereafter. When speaking to relatives/friends on the island please inform them.
Power has not been removed, Woody's power loss is localized. Official statement is that power will be removed at 5:00pm. Tip of Holiday Hotel's dock is leaning, ready to fall away, a lot of other docks already lost. Last flight out of San Pedro said water was chocolate color, tree stumps floating everywhere.
A friend from Louisiana called, Tenneco her employer has been looking at this carefully - ships and rigs in area reporting 20 ft surge. Suggest we inform all of surge, move to higher ground.
Caye Caulker 10:20 AM BT Tuesday
About a third of the population on Caye Caulker have elected to stay on the island. Jim Spence had secured his boats for the hurricane, but high tides washing over the island placed his boats yesterday, Monday, in the middle of the football field. The front pier of the town is under water and evacuees had to wade out to boats. My daughters 50 foot mobile home trailer from the government is floating around on the tide. She hasn't got it paid off yet and no insurance, her single mother status with kids is too tight for such luxuries as house insurance. Going to cost now, because that trailer is gone.
The girls Aunts, one her 70's and one in her mid 50's,who has a bad foot and cannot walk, had to stay on the island. Little money to get off at current fees for boat charters anyway. No money, you sit it out! The nieces would have paid for them, but because of Aunt Laura's foot, the two older women decided to stay. They were invited to Ladyville with their sister. But too complicated in the chaos to move. My beach property is now underwater they tell me, and it has reached the neighbor behind me and the street on the other side. This is the highest ridge of the island. So, if the Hurricane gets any closer and a surge tide, I think the island will be covered completely.
Spoke with Genaro Nunez again this morning at 8AM EST. Genaro says the waves are now too big for them to bring any evacuation boats. Does anyone know if the US Army could evacuate them now? What can we do to help them? We prayed together on the phone for their safety. Genaro plans to go to the Alijua Building when the storm gets there.
Water's getting high on San Pedro, waves in up to 60 feet. Low parts of the island experiencing flooding. Contacts remaining calm. An old timer said in prior experiences (Hattie etc.), conditions had been worse with similar hurricane distance from island but this could be attributed to delayed reports in the old days (by the time coordinates were reported it would already be hours late). He obviously is staying.
Tuesday 9:51am BT
Just talked to Woody at Corona del Mar, the waves are periodically coming up to his house on the beach, stiff wind from the north pushing the waves back from getting too high. He's riding it out, along with the rest of the folks who couldn't get off the island. Flights have stopped. Boats having trouble getting through also... Power is out, but phones still working.
Tuesday 8:06am BT
Flights out of San Pedro have ended. Surf is extreme. Now we wait.
We talked to Charlie Worthington last night (from Estelle's) and he said that there are very few diehards left on the island. He and Estelle have boarded up their place as best they can and are moving to the (I think) Spindrift. Seems everyone that's left is going to concrete buildings. Woody and Helen are on the top floor of their place, but staying. These people have some guts. As we watch, we pray.
8:52 a.m. BT Tuesday
Latest computer models say that Mitch will turn north today and only graze Belize. But they do not guarantee it! Either way, the Cayes, particularly San Pedro and Caye Caulker will suffer severe damages. If it hits, the towns will be gone. This type of Tornado with a 120 diameter base, is going to be more destructive than a B-52 airraid with saturation bombing from the USA.
This thing is no longer a Hurricane.
The computer models predict a turn to the north, grazing Belize and making landfall in the Yucatan with a lessening in intensity over the next 3 days. Don't you believe that for a minute. That is what they said yesterday. At the moment, the course is due west for the center of the country. There is no safe place. The coast line should be evacuated back for 10 miles on the mainland. Except in Punta Gorda. Even that is no guarantee with the weird jogging around this thing is doing.
Whatever, it should hit, tonight about dusk, or shortly thereafter. the worst will be in the dark of night. Tomorrow will be something else to remember.
I still remember Hurricane Hattie, in 1961. I watched through the second story kitchen window as little tornadoes within the Hurricane swirled through the back yards, exploding wooden houses. The houses floated down the street and we rescued several people off rooftops as they floated by out to sea. This was on Douglas Jones Street. The sea was over the swing bridge and the boats went right over it, without touching the bridge.
Right now it looks similar in direction, but worse in intensity, if such a thing can be imagined. This thing is like a Tornado, it is going to chop up everything in it's direct path, into pieces smaller than toothpicks. And it is 120 miles wide at the intense part. Lets hope the modelers are right this time and it turns north quick, today.
Catastrophic conditions are expected. Worst of which is that the sea is supposed to rise a miniumum of 18 feet in level. This will cover Caye Caulker and San Pedro, but most of all, it says the sea and flood and tidal effects will reach at least ten miles inland from the mainland coast.
Remember Hattie when the sea lapped my bed springs on the second floor of a house in Belize City, I can believe it.
Hurricane seems to be going due West. Due to hit tonight with full force winds.
Shelters in Belmopan were not open yesterday and there are close to a 100,000 people going to be going West to higher ground in Belmopan and San Ignacio. Have no idea where they all are going to go. Flying debris and trees are going to really play havoc.
If you were in a Cessna 182 airplane, you would be blown backward, even on full throttle at around 80 mph.
Just got off the phone with folks from the island. Surf is making boat travel difficult. Tropic and BDF (one aircraft only) still flying, could not get confirmation on Maya Island but hope they're flying also as the crowd in front of Tropic is estimated at over 200.
We should be out of water and electricity anytime between 12pm - 6pm today. The winds have picked up slightly and it has been drizzling all night. Maya Island Air I have heard will fly till about midday today only. Tropic might be running till late this evening provided the weather hold up a little more.
5:30 a.m. BT Tuesday morning.
The hurricane force winds of 185 mph are now 90 miles from Caye Caulker and the Barrier Reef Islands. All the barrier reef islands are now experiencing tropical storm conditions from the feeder bands and rising waters. Winds are 50 mph or so in gusts this morning. The mainland is not effected other than a feeder band going across the Monkey River Town area.
If anybody, like the lighthouse keeper family or wardens of the Booby Park Rangers stayed on Half Moon Caye at Lighthouse Reef Atoll. I would presume they will die today. The hurricane force winds are nearly there.
If there was a category six hurricane, this would be it. Category 5 starts about 167 mph and Hurricane Mitch is long past that at 185 mph. This is not even a Hurricane anymore. It is a giant Tornado with wind speed gusts in excess of 230 mph around the eye. This Tornado Mitch is currently 120 miles in diameter, or 60 miles either side of the perfectly formed eye. I would think the sea would be flat, as waves would not be able to exist.
I hope the Lamonts got off Glovers Reef Atoll. Usually they do not leave, but this one is way too big and fierce.
High waters yesterday were flooding the lower portions of Front Street on Caye Caulker, creating a panic among villagers to get off the island. Speedboats were charging high charter fees. Charter was the only way to leave. Front Street is in places, one row of houses to two row of houses back behind Beach Street. Beach Street is the one got washed out by Hurricane Fifi, that the government never repaired, or replaced.
If the eye goes over San Pedro or Caye Caulker, nothing will be left standing. The sea will cover it all. If the eye passes north into the Yucatan, depending on how far up the coast, damage is still expected to be severe. Xcalak seems the most logical target, but the Hurricane is currently moving west. It is on the latitude of Goff's Caye and has not moved much northward in the last 12 hours. On this course, Caye Chapel and Caye Caulker seem likely landfall.
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