Belize has had it's share of hurricane hits and near misses. In
recent history, there was Hurricane Janet in 1955. The eye of Janet packed winds of 135 miles
per hour and it made landfall on a small Mexican village north of San Pedro Town. In Corozal town, the eye reached
winds of up to 150 knots. There were devastating winds and massive flooding in the northern districts, 16 deaths, and
20,000 people left homeless. In San Pedro, the houses on back street were damaged, the beach homes and lots were large mounds
of sand, and the beach increased by many feet.
The next, devastating hurricane to directly hit Belize came
from Hurricane Hattie in October 1961. Hattie formed inside the Caribbean Sea and traveled
north towards Cuba. Then, unfortunately for Belize, turned west and tracked directly into Belize City. Hattie's
eye had winds of 115 miles per hour with gusts estimated at 200 miles per hour. The eye passed between Belize City
and Dangriga causing 307 deaths in Belize City alone. It was this hurricane that resulted in George Price,
and the People's United Party (PUP) to relocate their Capital City from Belize City to the safer location of Belmopan.
Let's dance... do you know the
Tango? We're talking about the one and only (the name has since been retired)... Hurricane Mitch.
This 1998 hurricane, although causing severe damage to various areas within Belize actually was not a direct hit on Belize.
In fact it sort of danced around Belize. It was formed in the same general area as Hurricane Hattie and took
the same curve towards Belize but Mitch went more southward thus making landfall in Honduras instead of Belize.
Mitch was a catastrophic hurricane with winds up to 180 miles per hour. Fortunately, Belize was not it's main target!
Or how about a "Rain Dance"? We're now talking about the very wet, Hurricane
Keith which came into the Belizean Cayes on October 1, 2000. For Ambergris Caye, as well as Caye Caulker, this
hurricane brought rain... and more rain.. for three long days. Hurricane Keith did end up becoming a Cat. 4 level hurricane
with wind gust up to 155 miles per hour however it was it's slow moving speed which made Keith such a problem, again especially
to the Cayes. As Keith made Belize's mainland it quickly deminished into a Tropical Storm.
The 2005 Hurricane Season... The worst hurricane
season ever! Fortunately, Belize was spared. See below for brief info. regarding those hurricanes which were "near
misses" for Belize.
* The 2005 hurricane season brought an unprecedented number of hurricanes,
of which three—Stan, Wilma, and Beta—caused devastation in parts of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica,
El Salvador, Mexico, Cuba, and the Bahamas. In July, hurricanes Dennis and Emily impacted Cuba, Haiti, and Grenada.
* On July 8, Hurricane Dennis made landfall in central Cuba bringing
sustained winds of up to 150 mph and triggering sea surges, floods, landslides, and heavy rains which affected Haiti as well.
* On July 14, Hurricane Emily passed near Grenada as a category one
hurricane with 90 mile per hour winds.
* On October 4, Hurricane Stan made landfall south of Veracruz, Mexico,
with sustained winds of 80 miles per hour, before weakening to a tropical storm and generating severe flooding across southern
Mexico and Central America.
* Hurricane Wilma hovered for more than 24 hours near the Yucatan
Peninsula before making landfall in Cozumel, Mexico, on October 22, as a category four hurricane.
* Hurricane Beta made landfall on October 30, near Karabal and Sandy
Bay, Nicaragua, as a category two hurricane.
The 2010 & 2011 Hurricane Season Forcast...
No one yet knows what the 2010 or 1011 Hurricane Season will bring.
Some predict we are in a cycle which will continue to bring us devastating Catagory 4 and 5 level hurricanes generating
from the warm waters of the Caribbean and the Gulf. The fact is, about the only thing we do know... for certain,
are the tropical storms/hurricane names designated for 2011. Below is a brief explanation of "the name game"
as well as the actual names for 2011.
*Hurricanes are named alphabetically from a list in chronological
order. Thus the first tropical storm or hurricane of the year has a name that begins with "A" and the second is given the
name that begins with "B." The lists contain names that begin from A to W, but exclude names that begin with a "Q" or "U."
There are six lists that continue to rotate. The lists only change when
there is a hurricane that is so devastating, the name is retired and another name replaces it.
The 2010 Hurricane Season...
2011 Hurricane Names