At 9:00am the center of Hurricane Rina was located near 17.9 N, Latitude and 85.5 W, Longitude or about 200 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico (190 miles from Belize. Hurricane Rina is now moving slowly west-northwestward at 5 mph with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph. Tropical Storm force winds extends out to 115 miles and Hurricane Force Winds extend out 25 miles from the centre. 2-4 inches of rainfall is anticipated. Rina is expected to become a major Hurricane within the next 24 hours. NEMO declared Phase III-Red 2 at 6:00 a.m. today.
One thousand five hundred (1,500) residents of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye were evacuated yesterday, Tuesday, October 25, 2011, as the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) facilitated a free and voluntary evacuation with the help of the water taxi services. It was until 5:00 p.m. that NEMO suspended evacuation operations from the cayes.
As Hurricane Rina approaches the country, evacuations are expected to continue through this afternoon until weather permits, but NEMO officials say it might be as early at 11a.m. More people were expected to heed evacuation notices today; local authorities expect to evacuate approximately 5,000 more residents before operations are suspended.
Evacuation this morning seemed poor in San Pedro and many residents have been saying that they don’t have money to evacuate and are afraid their homes will be burglarized. NEMO officials on the island are urging residents to evacuate to shelters inland because NEMO IS NOT opening hurricane shelters on either islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker due to lack of proper facilities.
Local weather experts are expecting weather conditions to start deteriorating by today, Wednesday, October 26, around midday. If Hurricane Rina stays on the projected path, it is expected to come as close as 100 miles from the coast of San Pedro/Belize which will bring heavy tropical storm winds of up to 35mph, have a storm surge of eight to twelve feet when the storm is closes to Belize and winds coming in from the west and southwest.
According to Mr. Panton of NEMO, the island of Ambergris Caye should experience tropical storm winds for at least 20 to 30 hours when the storm nears land and starts moving northward. This is expected if Hurricane Rina continues the projected path which carries it west during today with a gradual turn to the north by Thursday. Neighboring islands and towns in the northern part of the country should experience similar conditions. Flooding is a major concern in the mainland and damage by strong waves are a concern on the coast and in the islands.
Boat owners are urgently advised to move their vessels to safe harbor. All vessels must remain in port. NEMO advises the general public not to go to sea. In San Pedro, officials are calling mariners to cease maritime travel by 5p.m. today, Wednesday, with penalties if caught by the coast guards.
NEMO Press Release #6
Evacuation of San Pedro and Caye Caulker resumed this morning at 6:00 a.m. All vessels must remain in port. NEMO advises the general public not to go to sea.
NEMO assisted evacuation will be conducted for the Belize, Orange Walk and Corozal Districts.
Communities of concern in Corozal District that will be evacuated are:
• Buena Vista will go to the CCC
• Caledonia will go to the Cornerstone Presbyterian High School
• Chunox will go to the CZL Town-CCC
• Consejo will go to the CZL Town-CCC
• Copper Bank will go to the Orange Walk – Multipurpose Bldg
• Fireburn will go to the Orange Walk-Multipurpose Bldg
• Progresso will go to the Orange Walk-Multipurpose Bldg
• Ranchito will go to the CZL Town CCC
• San Victor will go to the San Narciso RC School
• Sarteneja will go to the Saint Viator High School & Orange Walk-Multipurpose Bldg
• Yo Chen will go to the Cristo Rey Nazarene Church Bldg
Communities of concern in Orange Walk District that will be evacuated are:
• San Lorenzo will go to the Trial Farm Roman Catholic Primary School
Communities of concern in Belize District that will be evacuated are:
• Bomba will go to the Maskall Community Centre
• Boston will go to the King’s College Evangelical High School
• Davis and Grace Bank will go to the Orange Walk-San Francisco RC School
• Western Paradise will go to the Belmopan-Garden City Primary School
• Free Town Sibun will go to the Belmopan – UB Jabiru Bldg
• Lords Bank will go to the La Immaculada Bldg 3, Orange Walk
• Rhaburn Bridge will go to the Orange Walk, Carmelita Government School
• St. Paul’s Bank will go to the Belmopan-Garden City Primary School
• Willows Bank will go to the Methodist Church & Belmopan-Garden City Primary School
• Scotland Halfmoon will go to Belmopan Anglican Primary School & New Mennonite Church
There will be no evacuation of Belize City, instead shelters will be open as follows in Belize City:
• Mesoptamia will go to the Grace Primary & Salvation Army
• Freetown will go to the All Saints Pallotti
• Caribbean Shores will go to the Trinity Methodist
• Albert will go to the St. Ignatius Primary School (new bldg)
• Lake I will go to the St. Martin De Porres
• Port Loyola will go to the St. Johns Vianney
• Queen Square will go to the Queen Square Primary
• Fort George will go to the Pallotti High School
• Collet will go to the Gwen Liz.
• Pickstock (South) will go to the St. Martin de Porres
• Pickstock (North) will go to the Holy Redeemer
Public transportation is expected to operate its normal schedule. The public will be notified of any intended disruption
Schools have been suspended for the entire Cayo District, Orange Walk and Corozal Districts including Belize District. School staff and management must report to school to prepare their schools. Public Officers must be ready to report to their respective shelters in Orange Walk, Corozal, Belize City and Belmopan. Shelters are expected to be open this afternoon.
NEMO continues to monitor Hurricane Rina which has the potential to further strengthen. STAY ALERT! STAY TUNE! TAKE THE NECESSARY ACTIONS AS ADVISED!