Tuesday, April 23, 2024

NEMO assesses damages caused by a freak storm


Forecasts called for stormy weather on Monday, June 5th, but it arrived as an extremely strong thunderstorm sweeping over San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, catching many residents by surprise. The wild storm flooded streets, caused major power surges and an eventual hours-long outage, and damaged homes and properties. The island was battered with unprecedentedly strong winds, triggering the local National Emergency Management (NEMO) branch to be on alert and ready to assist the most affected.
Early on Tuesday, June 6th, a representative from the San Pedro Branch of NEMO said they conducted site inspections across town. They discovered five commercial buildings and two residential buildings with structural damage. Some of the damages observed include roofs and walls partially blown off. The storm also damaged household items and bedding.  As a result, the San Pedro NEMO office is working with Area Representative Honourable Andre Perez and Mayor Gualberto ‘Wally’ Nuñez to assist those residents experiencing residential damages and needing humanitarian aid.

The severe storm, which lasted for a couple of hours, had been forecasted by the National Meteorological Service of Belize. Chief Meteorological Officer Ronald Gordon said on Monday that the heat wave that had been sitting over the country for the past week would end with the arrival of heavy rainfall. Gordon was not wrong, as hours later, one of the strongest thunderstorms in months swept over Ambergris Caye, leaving people scrambling to get home. The power outages in some subdivisions like DFC and San Pablo had residents waiting hours before power could be restored.
Gordon mentioned that the rainy season has also officially arrived, with the 2023 Hurricane Season officially opened. He said that with the El Niño weather phenomenon influencing the year’s season, Belizeans could expect fewer tropical storms or hurricanes. However, this summer is expected to be warmer because of the same weather factor. Rainfall is also likely to be less, with the possibility of unusual storms occasionally.
NEMO remains alert and ready to assist during this hurricane season and asked residents to review their emergency plans. The public is reminded that NEMO can be easily contacted through their Toll-Free number, 936.

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