We know that Belizeans are more looking forward to Lobster Season than the Hurricane Season this year, but we cannot ignore the fact that the hurricane weather phenomenon is inevitable and we have to make preparations every year to stay safe.
Last year Hurricane Earl was a major blow to Belize, particularly major damage to almost all over-the-water structures on Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. An above-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year, but that does not mean that Belize will get struck by a hurricane. It just means that we must all be prepared.
On Wednesday, May 31, the National Meteorological Service of Belize held its first ever press briefing on the 2017 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season Forecast and launched a new website. The website now has a new look with improved services for Belize. Apart from daily weather reports the Met Office will provide live weather updates. (Belize Hydromet Website)
“We have our database that is constantly ingesting information and pushing that data to the website and of course there is the content management aspect of the website itself. So those three things are working together to give you what you see here.” - Dwayne Scott - Electronic Technician to 7News in Belize City.
For the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center predict a 45% chance of an above-normal season, a 35% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20% chance of a below-normal season. (NOAA)
Forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). An average season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
These numbers include Tropical Storm Arlene, a rare pre-season storm that formed over the eastern Atlantic in April. The 2016 season was the most active since 2012, with 15 named storms, including 7 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes.