Hurricane Dean Hits Consejo Shores
August 21, 2007

Hurricane Dean 1st Landfall

Packing sustained winds of 165 MPH, Category 5 Hurricane Dean slammed into La Costa Maya near Majahual, Quintana Roo, Mexico around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 21st, 2007. Landfall was about 30 miles north of Consejo, the northern most settlement in Belize. Hurricane force winds continued to be felt in Consejo until well after sunup.

Hurricane Dean as seen from
the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

At Landfall, Dean had a minimum pressure of 905 mb, tying Dean with Camille (1969) and Mitch (1998) for the seventh-lowest central pressure on record in the Atlantic basin, and the third-lowest landfall pressure, behind only Gilbert (1988) and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane.

The USA's National Hurricane Center has published their final Tropical Cyclone Report for Hurricane Dean. It is interesting reading.

Hurricane Dean's Track

Dean's Effects on Consejo, Corozal and Belize

Thousands of trees were down in Consejo Shores, Mayan Seaside and Wagner's Landing, but there was no structural damage. A few of the older houses in Consejo Village suffered some moderate damage, mainly to roofs. Judging from the lack of catastrophic damage, the Consejo area probably saw winds in 90-110 MPH range. Being on the south side of the circulation, Belize was spared the worst of Dean's furry. There were no deaths or serious injuries reported in Belize.

It should be pointed out that a huge storm surge like the one that caused so much damage along Mexico's La Costa Maya is not likely in Consejo due the the topography and expansive area of shallow water between Consejo and the open ocean.

Published reports state that close to 2,000 people have been left homeless in Belize in the aftermath of Dean. Most serious structural damage was sustained in the villages south of Corozal. In a statement released on Friday, August 24th, 2007, Prime Minister Said Musa said, “It will cost at least US$10 million to replace or repair the hundreds of houses that have been completely or partially destroyed or sustained structural damage." 

There are reports that in the Corozal District as many as 275 houses were completely destroyed and more then 450 others were severely damaged. According to the one report almost half the housing losses in the Corozal District were in the Chunox Village, where 115 homes were reported destroyed while 273 were damaged. The Corozal Free Zone also received major damage. Reports are that 250 buildings were damaged in the Free Zone, representing an estimated loss of US$2.4 million. The Belize Government's final damage estimate was about US$100 million.

Most telephone service in Consejo was restored on Friday August 24th. Power was turned on in most of Corozal on Saturday. The Consejo area is at the end of the Belize power grid so we were the last to be restored. Our power came back on at 3:30PM Sunday August 26th. Only a few remote homes remained without power in Belize by Monday.

Dean in Mexico:

Lazy Waves
in San Jose/Placer

Lazy Waves - After Dean

You can see more photos of Hurricane Dean's destruction in Mexico at the costamayalive.com Web site. Unfortunatly this site is no longer live. Several Gringo style concrete houses on the beach were completely destroyed by the 15' storm surge. Mexico has a lot more resources to call upon in this type of emergency. Despite substantially more damage than was sustained in Belize, the lights in Chetumal were on Thursday night.

Remarkably, the 12 deaths reported in Mexico occurred in the states of Hidalgo, Puebla, Veracruz, and San Luis Potosi, in association with Dean’s second (weaker) landfall. The fact that Dean hit an area with low population probably limited the damage caused by the storm, as less than US$1 billion damage was reported in Mexico.


Death and Destruction Caused by Dean

Deaths and damage by country
Country Deaths Damage (USD)
Belize 0 ~$107 million
Dominica 2 ~$162 million
Dominican Republic 6 Minimal
Guadeloupe 0 $156 million
Haiti 14 Unknown
Jamaica 3 ~$310 million
Martinique 0 $679.7 million
Mexico 12 ~$184 million
Nicaragua 1 None
Saint Lucia 1 $6.4 million
Florida (USA) 1 None
Totals: 40 ~$1.5 billion
Because of differing sources, totals may not match.

Photos of Consejo Shores

The first two photos are out my back door while the wind was still at storm force. I was surprised to see our thatched palapa still standing. Walking down Pelican Pathway a little later I was amazed by the lack of real damage. A lot of trees were blown down, but nothing like the damage165 MPH winds would have caused. We were very lucky!

Homes on Consejo Beach Trail, being on the water and unprotected from the storm's strongest winds, also had no structural damage. A few sheets of roof tin and some palapa damage was the worst of it, aside from the loss of so many beautiful mature trees.

Tammy Trail also suffered mostly fallen trees. A couple of the palapas are listing a little, but there is no substantial damage.

Clean-up of our Pelican Pathway lot began with clearing the driveway so we could get the truck out. There were 48 trees down on the property. Thursday Paul Garcia and his crew cut up and hauled 12 big truck loads and several large trailer loads of tree debris from the yard.

The yard looks pretty good after the clean-up effort. There are still about 25 large trees plus the small fruit trees we planted last winter. Once these remaining trees leaf out, there should again be plenty of shade and habitat for the birds and other critters that have made Pelican Pathway their home.


Hurricane Felix:

Monday September 3, 2007:

Hurrican Warning

HURRICANE FELIX INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 12A
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL062007
800 AM EDT MON SEP 03 2007

...POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC HURRICANE FELIX CONTINUES MOVING QUICKLY WESTWARD...

AT 8 AM EDT...1200Z...THE GOVERNMENT OF GUATEMALA HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WATCH FOR THE CARIBBEAN COAST OF GUATEMALA...AND THE GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WATCH FOR THE ENTIRE COAST OF BELIZE.

The second Category 5 hurricane of the 2007 season placed the entire cost of Belize under a Hurricane Watch.

Tuesday September 4:

HURRICANE FELIX INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 16A
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL062007
800 AM EDT TUE SEP 04 2007

...POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC HURRICANE FELIX MAKES LANDFALL IN EXTREME NORTHEASTERN NICARAGUA AT CATEGORY FIVE STRENGTH...

Fortunately for Belize, Felix did passed to the south, into Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. This is the 2nd storm this year to make landfall as a Category 5 Hurricane! The last Category 5 storm to make landfall in Belize was Hurricane Hattie in 1961.

The USA's National Hurricane Center has published their final Tropical Cyclone Report for Hurricane Felix. It is also interesting reading.

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Affecting Belize Since 1930

Visit our Hurricane History of Belize page for a summery of all the
Tropical Cyclones that have affected Belize since 1930.