Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Classes Called off In San Pedro

The Ministry of Education has called off classes for today for the entire Belize District due to the bad weather conditions currently affecting the country. All schools on Ambergris Caye, with the exception of Island Academy, San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School and Maestro Reyes School of Knowledge, have called of classes for today. This also includes all pre-schools.

Heavy Rains Still Falling

A week of heavy rains over northern Honduras, northern Guatemala, and Belize due to Tropical Depression Sixteen and a Western Caribbean tropical disturbance (91L) have resulted in record flooding and deadly mudslides across the region. In Honduras, a nationwide state of emergency has been declared, and at least eleven people are dead and two missing from the flooding. Two large landslides blocked the Coyol River in western Honduras yesterday, forming a lake 500 feet deep. Engineers are attempting to drain the lake today, but they won't be helped by the weather--91L promises to move little the next two days, and will continue to dump heavy rains on the region. Here in Belize, damage is already estimated in the ten of millions, and some areas are seeing flooding worse than was experienced during Hurricanes Mitch and Keith. Satellite estimates suggest up to a foot of rain has fallen over the region in the past week.

Flooding in San Igancio, Cayo

Visible satellite loops show that the intensity and areal coverage of 91L's heavy thunderstorms have remained about the same the past 12 hours, and are primarily affecting Belize and the east coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula this morning. The storm is located too close to land to develop into a tropical depression, and wind shear is also rather high, 20 knots.

The forecast for 91L
Wind shear is expected to remain in the 15-25 knot range over the next three days. Steering currents are weak, and little movement is likely through Wednesday. Heavy rains will affect northern Honduras, northern Guatemala, Belize, Mexico's eastern Yucatan Peninsula, western Cuba, and the Cayman Islands through Wednesday. A trough of low pressure swinging across the Midwest U.S. should be able to start pulling 91L northward or northwestward by Thursday. Once 91L enters the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, the trough should swing the storm to the northeast, bringing it across the west coast of Florida between Tampa and the Big Bend region on Friday night. Wind shear will be very high over the Gulf of Mexico this week, in the 30-40 knot range, and 91L is expected to make a transition to a very wet extratropical storm by Friday. The storm should bring sustained winds of 30-35 mph and heavy rains of 2-3 inches to Florida.

No comments: