Event: Hurricane season starts on June 1 and ends on November 30 in the Atlantic and the Caribbean. Before hurricane season each year, make sure you and your family are prepared by planning ahead. During a hurricane, the U.S. Embassy makes every effort to assist you in every way we can. However, there are things the Embassy is able to do and others we are not able to do.
During a hurricane the Embassy will be able to:
- Monitor the path of the hurricane via the National Hurricane Center in Miami and give periodic updates to wardens about conditions.
- Notify Citizen Liaisons (CL) of our functioning status during the storm.
- If possible, provide information regarding time and cost of air evacuation; allowing for wardens to disseminate this information to American citizens in their districts.
- Be a liaison between U.S. citizens and their family members/friends in the US who may be looking for them. (It is important for U.S. citizens to register with STEP – Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at https://step.state.gov/ )
What the Embassy cannot do:
- Provide shelter in the Embassy for people to “ride out the storm”.
- Pay for any costs associated with evacuation to the USA.
- Force people to leave any area against their own will.
What You Can Do:
Be aware of the hurricane phases: See attached Hurricane Tracking Map
- “ALERT” Preliminary – After a tropical storm or hurricane moves into or develops anywhere in the quadrant south of 21° north latitude and between longitude 80° west and 83° west, a hurricane ALERT is in effect.
- “WATCH” Red I flag – If a tropical storm or hurricane moves into or develops anywhere in the quadrant south of 20° north latitude and between longitude 83° and 85° west, a hurricane watch is in effect. The international airport will close when there is a sustained 40 mph wind speed, usually during the WATCH phase.
- “WARNING” Red II flag – After a tropical storm or hurricane moves into or develops anywhere in the quadrant south of 20° north latitude, and west of 85° longitude, a hurricane WARNING is in effect. During this stage the hurricane or storm appears likely to strike the coast of Belize in a matter of hours.
Monitor the progress of the hurricane:
- Via internet: The National Hurricane Center Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration has a continuously updated site: nhc.noaa.gov. The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) in Belmopan has a website also: www.nemo.org.bz.
- Via telephone: call +501-225-2480, the National Meteorological Office at Goldson Airport.
- All major local television and radio stations will have continuous update of the hurricane progress.
Gather emergency supplies:
- During and after a hurricane, you may need supplies to keep your family safe and healthy. Remember that a hurricane could cut off your power and water supply. You also may not be able to drive because of damage to your vehicle. Roads may be flooded or blocked. That’s why it’s best to be prepared. Stock up on everything you might need now.
- Be sure to prepare the following:
- An emergency food and water supply.
- An emergency medicine supply.
- Emergency power sources such as flashlights (don’t forget extra batteries).
- Safety and personal items.
- Important documents, including medical documents, wills, passports, and personal identification.
Have an alternate residence and evacuation plan in place:
- Residents of San Pedro and outer islands are advised to leave the islands as soon as a hurricane ALERT is issued.
- Residents of Belize City and coastal regions are advised to move into central Belize when a WATCH is in effect. Have a hurricane emergency kit in place in your home and at your emergency residence.
- Please understand: The U.S. Embassy is not a public hurricane shelter.
Make a post-hurricane assessment:
- After the hurricane has passed, notices will be sent to the community as soon as the situation has returned to normal. If there is a continuing threat to safety, security or health, further evacuations may be considered at this point.
Actions to Take:
- Visit State.Gov for hurricane preparedness information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive alerts
- Consult the CDC website for hurricane preparedness information.
- Consult the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website for hurricane preparedness information.
- U.S. Embassy Belmopan, Belize
- State Department – Consular Affairs
- 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
- Belize Country Information
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for current information
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