I am starting to feel like the San Pedro town council conference room is my second home 🙂
The Evacuation numbers for Hurricane Ernesto are in – 632 have left Ambergris Caye by water taxi, 365 by Tropic Air and Maya Island Air 170.
All going according to plan. Tropical storm Ernesto is officially cat 1 and tracking west north west. According to Frank, a hurricane hunter said winds increasing and speed of storm has increased. Further indications show Ernesto is turning to west. As of right now we will get hit between 5:00am -8:00am tomorrow morning, that could happen sooner though. With 65-75 mph winds.
Landfall still expected by tomorrow morning. 6pm to 6am we will get the brunt of the storm and conditions will subside by Wed night and sea conditions will improve. Waves are estimated 5-6 ft outside the reef 12 ft further at open seas up to 21 ft. No one should be out there. We are also experiencing beach erosion.
Water will be shut off in San Mateo by 9pm tonight until 9am tomorrow.
Next NEMO meeting is at 6:00am Wednesday.
Storm Update from Belize Red Cross Director General
Here is the August 7, 12:00 pm update for Ernesto from Ramon Frutos NEMO HQ. “Ernesto is now a Cat I hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. The midday Hurrevac trajectory has Hurricane Ernesto making landfall a bit farther north from the earlier track. Ernesto can still strengthen more before making landfall north of Majahual, Mexico late tonight and early Wednesday. Hurricane force winds extend out to 25 miles from the center most in the north and NE quadrant, while TS force winds extend upto 140 miles or just over 2 degrees of latitude around the center. This means that if Ernesto makes landfall at the projected point, then northern Belize will be on the southern periphery of the TS winds. Gale force winds less than 39 mph will affect other areas to the south of the central Orange Walk district. However, torrential rainfall will sweep across, with total accumulation of some 10-12 inches particularly in the elevated terrain of the Maya Mountain massif, by the time this is all over on Thursday or early Friday. Elsewhere total rainfall will be in the range of 4-8 inches. So, the potential is still there for inundations over northern and central Belize and flash floods in the hilly terrain.
High resolution IR images of the storm, indicate very cold cloud tops (white) in the cloud mass which is becoming very structured around the center, with the formation of a major feeder band in the SE quadrant. This is indicative of an intensifying storm.
Compared to Hurricane Dean which was a Cat 5 hurricane with wind in excess of 155 mph on August 21, 2007, which made land fall a bit farther south than the projected landfall point of hurricane Ernesto, the impact on Belize was confined mostly to the Corozal District and resulted mostly from wind effects. As we can recall, Hurricane Dean did not produce a lot of rainfall over Belize, so the flooding of the Rio Hondo and other tributaries was minimal or non existent. In the case of Ernesto, the rainfall is expected to be much more, hence the possibility of flash floods and inundation in the flood plains of the Rio Hondo and the New River”.