Sunday, April 14, 2024

Belize spared once again during 2019 Hurricane season


On Saturday, November 30th, the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially came to an end with no major storms affecting Belize. The season, which began on June 1st, called for up to 15 named storms, with eight of these becoming hurricanes, including major cyclones ranging from category three and up. When the hurricane period closed, there were 18 named storms, with three of them becoming major storms.
According to the data from the Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado USA, the 2019 season was near or above average with a warm climate providing the right conditions for ultra-intense storms. The 2019 ultra-intense storm was Hurricane Dorian, whose 185 miles per hour winds destroyed the Bahamas in early September. A category five hurricane, Dorian claimed 69 lives, 282 were listed as missing, and afflicted approximately $3.4 billion in damages.
The second category five storm was Hurricane Lorenzo, who in late September became the most easternmost storm to form in recent history. The storm destroyed Azores (near Portugal) to the tune of $367 million, primarily to coastal infrastructure. The hurricane also capsized a ship with passengers that was caught up in the middle of the storm. Among the 14 persons aboard, three were rescued, four drowned, and seven remain missing.
Belize survived the year without major storms and only experienced a few Areas of Low Pressure, which generated rain in the country. However, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), responding to natural disasters, was on high alert throughout the hurricane period. The last hurricane to hit Belize was in August 2016, when Hurricane Earl caused vast destruction to Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, amounting to $10 million in losses. The impact countrywide was of $183.6 million in damages to both the agriculture and tourism sectors. The districts most affected by Earl included Belize, Cayo, Stann Creek, and Orange Walk.

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