Islanders monitoring Tropical Storm Lisa; voluntary evacuations underway

Tuesday, November 1st, 2022

While Tropical Storm Lisa is forecasted to make landfall in southern Belize as a Category 1 hurricane tomorrow Wednesday evening, many families in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, are voluntarily evacuating the island. Early on Tuesday, November 1st, large crowds arrived at the water taxi terminals and the John Greif II Municipal Airport, heading to the mainland. Meanwhile, residential and businesses secured their properties ahead of the pending storm.
The latest update from the National Meteorological Service of Belize indicates that Tropical Storm Lisa is expected to land near Dangriga Town, Stann Creek District, in southern Belize as a hurricane on Wednesday. Chief Meteorologist Ronald Gordon told The San Pedro Sun that although the storm is predicted to make landfall farther south, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker will experience tropical-storm-force winds and rain. Gordon also said that the sea conditions would be affected, and boat owners should safeguard their vessels throughout Tuesday. Gordon added that despite the potential Hurricane Lisa landing near the Dangriga area in southern Belize, there is a hurricane warning for the entire country. Everybody should take the necessary precautions and prepare for the coming storm.

The many islanders leaving the island shared that due to their living conditions in vulnerable areas of the island, they prefer to seek safety on the mainland with family members. Some of these people live in places like San Pedrito, San Juan, and San Mateo subdivisions, where they may be prone to flooding due to high tides. Another person indicated that if the storm severely affects the island, there will be no jobs; thus, they prefer staying home with their family on the mainland. The last water taxi boat is scheduled to leave at 1:30PM, and the last flight out of the island at noon. These services will be restored after the passing of the storm.

Several tour operators had to cancel or postpone several excursions in the tourism sector. According to some, this was one of the best weeks before the high season, and it’s unfortunate that this weather disturbance happened at this time of the year. However, they look forward to a good tourism season after this storm.

The last meteorological update showed that Tropical Storm Lisa had strengthened and was located near latitude 16.3N, longitude 84.8W, or about 430 miles east of Belize City. The storm was moving west at 14 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour and a minimum central pressure of 1001 mb. A Hurricane Warning (RED – II) has been issued for the entire coast of Belize. This means that Tropical Storm Lisa threatens the country of Belize and is likely to make landfall within 24 hours. Two red flags with black centres are to be flown at all signal centres throughout the country.
The public is advised to put their emergency plans into effect and to voluntarily relocate to a safe place. Employees must be allowed adequate time to secure their homes and properties in preparation for the hurricane. The Philip Goldson International Airport will be closed tonight and, on Wednesday, 2nd November, seaports will be closed at 7:00 a.m., and bus transportation stops at 10:00 a.m. Schools will remain closed; however, those used as shelters must be accessible to the public.
The general movement of the public is discouraged on Wednesday; only essential services should be operational. Public officers working emergency duties must be prepared and ready. NEMO will open shelters by 6:00 p.m. today and will be prepared to conduct Search and Rescue operations.


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