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Heavy Rains Cause Flooding in Belize

Between nine last Sunday night and through mid-week, much of the Belize was trapped in a deluge of water. Rainfall gauges at the Hershey compound on the Hummingbird Highway this Monday, January 23, recorded 5.17 inches, while Belize City was flooded by some 3.8 inches. And where was all this tropical moisture coming from in the middle of January?

According to the weather experts, a tropical disturbance formed in the western Caribbean late Sunday and moved ashore over Belize during Monday. Although there were earlier concerns about the intense system, it did not become a tropical depression.

The disturbance developed in an area of low wind shear (5-10 knots) caused by a temporary split in the flow of upper-level winds over the Caribbean. This split was closing up again on Tuesday, and shear values were quickly rising to the very high values weather experts are used to seeing in the tropics during winter.

Heavy rains of 4-8 inches and more flooding were expected in Belize this Tuesday in association with the intense thunderstorms of the disturbance. Computer forecast models were also predicting that wind shear will remain high over the tropics the remainder of January and no further tropical disturbances are expected this month.

In the Belize District, students were the hardest hit. Anyone passing Our Lady of the Way Roman Catholic School in Ladyville knew immediately why classes had been cancelled. Rio Grande, Moho, Golden Stream and the Deep Rivers in the Toledo District and the South and North Stann Creek Rivers were already above flood stage. These continued to rise and were expected begin to receding until late Thursday. Residents in low-lying areas and along rivers and streams were urged to monitor the water levels closely. If required, NEMO will advise these residents at risk to evacuate.

The rain will subside somewhat today, Thursday, but will continue through Friday. As a result, the localized floods could be prolonged by several more days on the inland. Conditions will become much drier on Saturday. NEMO Report on Rainfall in Belize.

The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) conducted a survey of the five districts to assess if any needs have arisen due to the steady rainfall over the last 2 days in Belize.

*San Pedro-The roads are bad due to the rainfall. Water has been rising in the ‘DFC Housing Areas’ but none of the homes have been reported as flooded. The San Pedrito area is wet but there are no reports of flooding. *Belize City- Various schools were closed due to the flooding drainage system that is normally flooded under this type of weather. Traffic was flowing as normally as can be expected under these conditions. Nothing unusual reported to merit emergency action outside of what the City Council has undertaken.

*Belize District- Hattieville reported some flooding of low-lying homes. No families had to vacate their homes due to this situation.

*Cayo- The village of Seven Miles on the Mountain Pine Ridge road experienced some flooding due to the heavy rains. One report from the village indicates that about 5 families had relocated to friends’ homes due to their flooded locations. All persons are safe and there are no threats to lives, livestock or property.

*The Macal River that passes through San Ignacio was rising but the waters had not affected the low-lying bridge. Traffic across that facility is moving normally although slowly due to the slippery surface of the bridge.

*The San Ignacio Police reported that there is a bridge near the village of Cristo Rey that has been suffering from intermittent flooding. The bridge has not been closed off but has slowed traffic and villagers report that they disembarked from the bus as a safety precaution as it crossed over the narrow bridge.

*Western Highway- Camalote Village experienced rising waters that is affecting the main highway and has slowed traffic.

*At the village of Roaring Creek water pushed across the highway and slowed traffic through that area. About 8 inches of water have been reported across the Western Highway.

*The City of Belmopan experienced some overflowing of drains in the area of the George Price Avenue that has become impassable to vehicular traffic.

*Cotton Tree-Western Highway miles 46-47 flash flooding across highway that is making the passage of vehicular traffic difficult to impassable. The police were on hand to monitor the situation.

*Orange Walk- Minor flooding was reported in some areas of the town as is expected in this type of weather.

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