Event: Hurricane Iota to make landfall in Central America
Monday November 16 at 10:00 am
Note: The National Meteorological Services of Belize and NEMO hereby inform the general public that Tropical Storm IOTA is now Hurricane IOTA. The Hurricane was centered near latitude 13.3N longitude 78.5W or about 335 miles east-southeast of Cabo Gracias Adios. The hurricane was moving to the west-northwest at 9mph with maximum sustained winds of 90mph and a minimum central pressure of 978 millibars. Iota is expected to strengthen as it moves on a west to west-northwestward track before it makes landfall. Thereafter it is expected to track west-southwestward.
The forecast is for Iota to develop into a major hurricane before it reaches the coast of northeastern Honduras or Nicaragua late on Monday. Most of the models now agree that Iota will remain over land where it will rapidly weaken through the remainder of this week. Iota will likely produce heavy rainfall across Belize with rainfall activity peaking on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. As much as 8 to 16 inches rain is likely to fall over southern Belize. This may result in flooding with possible landslides, especially over the mountainous areas of the country. Additionally, winds may become gusty producing rough sea conditions that could become a threat to mariners.
Out of an abundance of caution, despite the current track, the public is advised to be prepared to take actions that could save lives, such as informing your vulnerable family members of the threat, clear drains, trim trees, secure your home, purchase what you can afford to survive, secure your medication and important documents etc. When a storm is approaching always be prepared to evacuate to a safe building or shelter, store up water, charge your phone before landfall, and keep some form of emergency lighting, first aid kit (bandages, rubbing alcohol, ointments etc.) and tools close by.
Flood assessments and relief operations continue, (amidst COVID 19 risks) as the flood waters recede in the Cayo, Belize and Stann Creek districts. NEMO will keep the general public updated on any further developments. Please adhere to the official release from the National Met Service and NEMO. Attached are NEMO’s Emergency Coordinators Contact Information, COVID 19 Protocols and Preparedness Tips.
NEMO’s Emergency Coordinators Contact Information
Corozal: Mr. Ronnie Hernandez at 614-7140;
Orange Walk: Mr. Aragon at 615-2264; or Mr. Leiva at 614-7177
Belize District: Mr. Alphius Gillett at 614-4735;
San Pedro: Ms. Vanessa Parham at 614-5865;
Belize City: Mr. Al Westby at 614-8604 or Mr. Pollard at 614-3244;
Belmopan: Ms. Clare Moody at 614-5705; or Mr. Eiley at 624-2365
Cayo: Mr. Al Westby at 614-8604 or Mr. Johnny Ramclam at 614-5891;
Stann Creek -Coastal- Dangriga including Mullins River to Independence):
Mr. Kevin Flores at 604-3632
Stann Creek -Interior- Hummingbird and Southern highway communities: Mr. David Cruz at 614-8514
Toledo: Mr. Kenton Parham at 614 2158 or Mr. Dennis Williams at 614-2393
COVID 19 SHELTER PROTOCOLS:
- All persons in high-risk coastal areas are reminded IF the need arises for you to evacuate and you are (1) not COVID positive, (2) not in quarantine, (3) not awaiting a test result or (4) being contact traced, and (5) not showing symptoms, move early!
- You must wear a mask. Know which shelter you will go to, take along your essential necessities required for you to survive. The elderly and persons with underlying health conditions must not occupy the same space with normal persons. Note, people showing symptoms will be contained in a separate section of the shelter building.
- Hand washing /sanitizing must be done before entering a shelter. Shelter Wardens will allocate shelter space. Social distance must be adhered to and shelters must be sanitized on a regular basis. Garbage must be properly disposed of. Proper cleaning and disinfection must be done on a regular basis. Shelter Managers must monitor and correct hygiene and cough /sneeze etiquette. The Ministry of Health (MoH) will conduct daily monitoring of shelters to detect people who are sick and showing signs of COVID19. The Shelter Management Team (Public Officers/ Volunteers) MUST use PPE.
PREPAREDNESS TIPS BEFORE A CYCLONE ARRIVAL:
(1) Avoid being near the coast if your home is not safe if you live on the cayes and along the coast be familiar with the evacuation routes. Know which shelter you will need to go to. Make early preparations.
(2) Protect windows with plywood or shutters,
(3) Review your family emergency plan, consider all COVID 19 measures,
(4) If you can afford to purchase non-perishable foods and water. Store additional water.
(5) Keep an extra supply of medication. If a member of your household is bed-ridden, seek medical advice. Notify authorities ahead of time if you have persons in your neighborhood require special assistance to evacuate due to a medical condition.
(6) Secure your important documents and identification. Save the emergency contact numbers for NEMO, the police, fire, and medical facility in your cell phone. Keep your phone charged.
(7) Pets are not allowed in shelters, make plans for your pets, continue to trim trees, clear drains, and secure outdoor items. Farmers make plans to move your animals to higher ground and stockpile feed when required. The elderly and persons with underlying health conditions must not occupy the same space with normal persons. Shelter managers will monitor and correct hygiene and cough /sneeze etiquette. The Ministry of Health staff will conduct daily monitoring of shelters to detect people who are sick and showing signs of COVID-19. The Belize National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) Emergency Hotline is 936.
If evacuation becomes necessary, the National Evacuation Committee will notify the public accordingly. NEMO will keep the general public updated on any further developments. The public is advised to stay alert. Please adhere to any official releases from the National Meteorological Service and NEMO.
Actions to Take:
- Visit the U.S. National Hurricane Center for weather outlook updates in the region
- 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
Floral Park Road, Belmopan, Cayo, Belize
ConsulBelize@state.gov or ACSBelize@state.gov
- State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
- Belize Country Information
- Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts.
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter