June 1 – November 30
The Atlantic Hurricane Season officially runs from June 1 until November 30 each calendar year, and tropical storms and hurricanes often threaten to hit Belize. In the past, major hurricanes have caused extensive damage, serious injuries, and deaths. The areas in Belize most sensitive to hurricane damage are the cayes and coastal areas, including popular destinations such as San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, and Placencia on the mainland. Residents and visitors to those areas are advised to leave at the hurricane alert stage (see below) — when a hurricane is first spotted heading toward Belize and land, air, and sea transportation have not yet been seriously affected.
In the event of a natural disaster, U.S. Embassy Belmopan is not able to provide immediate shelter or evacuation assistance for U.S. citizens. If the cayes or coastal areas are evacuated, U.S. citizens are responsible for their own evacuation costs, including the cost of a new hotel outside the affected area. The government of Belize designates hurricane shelters specifically for those being evacuated from tourist areas. It is recommended that U.S. citizens plan in advance and obtain travel insurance that will cover both medical and emergency evacuation.
As always, the Embassy encourages resident U.S. citizens and visitors to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) before departing for Belize. This will facilitate our efforts to notify you in the event of an emergency.
Be aware of the three hurricane phases:
- Hurricane Alert: All residents in the Cayes are advised to leave the islands at this stage of the hurricane.
- Hurricane Watch: The international airport will close when there is a sustained 40 mph wind speed, usually during the watch phase. Residents of Belize City and coastal regions are advised to move into central Belize during this time.
- Hurricane Warning: During this stage the hurricane or storm appears likely to strike the coast of Belize in a matter of hours. Anyone still in the coastal region of Belize is advised to move to the central highlands.
Know how to monitor the progress of the hurricane:
U.S. Citizens in Belize are strongly recommended to remain alert to weather updates during hurricane season and to educate themselves as to what actions to take in case of an emergency. Be aware of the following methods of communication:
- Via internet: The National Hurricane Center Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration has continuous updates; and also The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).
- Via telephone: call (011) 501-225-2011, the National Meteorological Office at the Phillip S. W. Goldson International Airport.
- Via radio: All major stations will have continuous updates of the hurricane progress. Have an alternate residence and evacuation plan in place and have a hurricane emergency kit in place in your home and at your emergency residence.