Tropical Weather

Hurricane History of Belize


Posted Oct. 22th at 1100

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Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
Affecting Belize Since 1930

Since 1930, there have been 16 Hurricanes,  8 of which were Major Hurricanes, that have either made landfall in Belize or passed close enough to cause damage or loss of life. Additionally, 17 systems made landfall in Belize as Tropical Storms. Below is a brief synopsis of each of those storms. Most of the information comes from the USA's National Hurricane Center's archives. The Category Icon for each storm is the strength of the storm when it affected Belize. Click on any image to see the full size picture or map.

YearStorm NameCat.
1931Storm 53
1931Storm Fourteen1
1942Storm Ten1
1945Storm Ten1
1955Hurricane Janet5
1961Hurricane Anna1
1961Hurricane Hattie5
1969Hurricane Francelia1
1974Hurricane Fifi2
1978Hurricane Greta2
1998Hurricane Mitch5
2000Hurricane Keith4
2001Hurricane Iris4
2007Hurricane Dean5
2007Hurricane Felix5
2010Hurricane Richard1

1931

Storm Five Was A Category 3 Storm When It Hit Belize Only two tropical systems reached hurricane status in 1931. One Of those, Storm Five, became a major Category 4 hurricane with 135 mph winds. The hurricane made landfall at Belize City on 10 September killing approximately 2,500 people. At landfall, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 135 mph (215 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 952 mbar. Although weaker than Hurricane Hattie of 1961, it remains the deadliest hurricane and natural disaster in British Honduras (Belize) history.

Storm Two Was A Tropical Storm When It Hit Belize The other storm to become a Hurricane in 1931 was Storm Six. It made landfall just across the Rio Hondo in Mexico as a Tropical Storm than became a Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. One other system, Storm Two also made landfall in Belize as a Tropical Storm that year.


1932

Storm Seven Was A Tropical Storm When It Hit Belize Storm Seven was first observed as a Tropical Storm east of the Lesser Antilles on September 25th. It rapidly intensified as it moved westward, reaching a peak of 120 mph winds the next day. It crossed through the northern islands on the 26th, and struck Puerto Rico on the 27th. After devastating the islands the storm weakened as it headed westward. It made its final landfall in Northern Belize on October 1st as a Tropical Storm, then crossed the Yucatan Peninsula before dissipating on October 3 over Mexico. Later known as The San Ciprian Hurricane, it left 225 people dead and caused $30 million in damage.


Storm Eight Was A Tropical Storm When It Hit Belize Storm Eight formed on October 7th in the central Caribbean Sea northeast of Honduras. It headed northwest, and made landfall in Belize as a Tropical Storm on October 10. It continued north-northwestward across the Yucatan Peninsula. It then emerged into the southern Gulf of Mexico on October 12and made a second landfall in Louisiana on October 15. It weakened to tropical depression status on October 16 in central Alabama before dissipating in southwestern West Virginia.


1933

Storm Fourteen Was A Category 1 Storm When It Hit Belize Storm Fourteen developed into a tropical storm over the western Caribbean Sea off the coast of Guatemala. It moved slowly northward and strengthened, becoming a hurricane on September 12 just east of Belize. On the next day, the hurricane made landfall on the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, also impacting Northern Belize and the off shore Cayes. The system weakened to a tropical storm as it moved northwestward across the Yucatan Peninsula. On September 14 it again regained hurricane status over the Bay of Campeche. The hurricane struck Tampico on September 15 and then dissipated. The 960 mb pressure reading is the lowest recorded in any storm that did not become a Category 2 hurricane.


Storm Seventeen Was A Tropical Storm When It Hit Belize Storm Seventeen developed on September 28 from an area of disturbed weather to the east of Costa Rica. It tracked to the north-northwest and passed near Cabo Gracias a Dios early on September 29. The storm turned to the west into the Gulf of Honduras, and on September 30, it made landfall on east-central Belize as a Tropical Storm. Shortly thereafter, the system dissipated.


1934

Storm Two Was A Tropical Storm When It Hit Belize Storm Two carved an erratic path through Central America and the Gulf of Mexico, causing catastrophic flooding that killed thousands. It formed in the Gulf of Honduras in early June and slowly moved north and then west into Belize as as Tropical Storm. Over the next four days, it made a slow loop over the same general region of Central America. It went down through Guatemala and El Salvador and then back north into Honduras and the western Caribbean. Still hugging the coast, it strengthened into a hurricane, making landfall north of Majahual, Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. It weakened back to a storm as it began to move west across the northern part of the peninsula and into the Bay of Campeche. The storm slowed down further, making a tight (and rare second) counterclockwise loop then turning northward and gaining speed. It regained hurricane status, making landfall in Louisiana at Point au Fer Island on the east end of Atchafalaya Bay. The scale of the destruction in Central America was immense. As many as 3,000 people died in the catastrophic floods. Many places saw in excess of two feet of rain in just 72 hours.


1938

Storm Five Was A Tropical Storm When It Hit Belize Storm Five formed from a disturbance off the north coast of Honduras on October 11 and almost immediately crossed into Belize as a Tropical Storm, heading north up the Yucatan peninsula and into the Gulf of Mexico, where it began to move erratically. In the central Gulf it made a rather sudden turn toward Florida on October 13. However, a couple of days later, Storm Five slowed down and began to turn back toward the west northwest finally making landfall along the north Texas coast near Freeport.


1940

Storm Six Was A Tropical Storm When It Hit Belize Storm Six formed just east of Bluefields, Nicaragua on September 19. It moved northwestward, hitting that country shortly thereafter moved into the Gulf of Honduras on the 20th. Early the next day, the storm made landfall in Belize as a Tropical Storm. After crossing the Yucatan Peninsula it moved across the Gulf of Mexico. As it neared the Texan coast, it slowed and turned to the east paralleling the Texas and Louisiana coastlines before making landfall on the 24th over southern Louisiana.


1941

Storm Four Was A Tropical Storm When It Hit Belize The exact origin of Storm Four is not known. It is assumed that the storm formed from a tropical wave moving off the coast of Africa. It was already a tropical storm when it was detected 75 miles northwest of Barbados. Moving almost due west, the storm passed south of St Lucia and entered the Caribbean Sea. The storm then rapidly reached hurricane strength as it continued due west. On September 27, the hurricane strengthened into a category 3 hurricane with maximum winds of 120 mph before making landfall in northeastern Nicaragua. Still maintaining hurricane strength, the storm crashed though Honduras bringing 100 mph winds to the country. After briefly passing over the Gulf of Honduras, the hurricane made a second landfall in Belize as a moderate tropical storm on September 28. The storm then moved inland though Guatemala and the southern Yucatan Peninsula before emerging in the Bay of Campeche as a tropical depression, dissipating as it made landfall in Veracruz, Mexico.

About 30-50 people died in what became known as the Central America Hurricane of 1941. The town of Cape Gracias was leveled by the hurricanes 120 mph winds, most of the buildings including a weather station were ether severely damaged or destroyed. Along the coast, the storm brought a storm surge of 6 feet which caused severe damage to coastal communities. There was also minor damage to the islands off the coast of Belize.


1942

Storm Four Was A Tropical Storm When It Hit Belize Storm Four formed roughly 100 miles northeast of Barbados in mid September and moved on a steady west-northwest track, not strengthening much. Its winds never rose above 50 mph. Storm Four turned more to the west after it passed south of Jamaica and struck northern Belize as a weakening tropical storm. It dissipated shortly thereafter.


Storm Ten Was A Category 1 Storm When It Hit Belize Storm Ten was first seen over the northern Lesser Antilles on November 5 as a Tropical Storm headed west-northwestward. It became a hurricane on the 6th over the southern Bahamas. A ridge of high pressure to its north forced the storm west-southwestward, where it hit Cuba later that day. After weakening over the island, the now tropical storm re-strengthened to a hurricane on the 8th over the western Caribbean Sea. It attained a peak of 95 mph (153 km/h) winds before hitting Belize on the 9th. After crossing the Yucatan Peninsula, the ridge of high pressure built to its northwest, forcing the storm back southeastward. It hit the western Yucatan Peninsula again on the 11th, and dissipated shortly thereafter over land.


1943

Storm Ten Was A Tropical Storm When It Hit Belize The final storm of the season, Storm Ten was a weak system that formed in the western Caribbean Sea on October 20 and curved northwest and then west, paralleling the coast of Honduras but remaining well offshore. Winds in this storm never rose above 45 mph. It began to curve back southwest on the 22nd, clipping the coast of southern Belize and making landfall on the Guatemalan coast six hours later as a weak tropical storm.


1945

Storm Six Was A Tropical Storm When It Hit Belize On August 29, a Storm Six formed in the western Caribbean Sea and quickly became a Tropical Storm. It moved northeastward, turned to the west, and made landfall in Belize on August 31 where it caused heavy rains and high tides. The system weakened to a depression after moving inland on September 1, and the remnants dissipated over interior Central America shortly thereafter.


Storm Seven Was A Category One Storm When It Hit Belize First detected as a Tropical Storm on October 2, Storm Ten moved westward across the western Caribbean. It reached a peak of 95 mph winds, and hit southern Belize on October 4. It maintained its circulation across Central America, and hit Acapulco, Mexico on October 5 as a weakening tropical depression. The hurricane caused severe damage in southern Belize and northwestern Guatemala, but no damage figures exist.


In 1953 the United States began using female names for Tropical Storms and Hurricanes


1954

Tropical Storm Gilda Was A Tropical Storm When It Hit Belize Tropical Storm Gilda formed in the Central Caribbean Sea on September 24. It moved westward, reaching a peak of 70 mph winds before hitting Belize on the 27th. Gilda caused heavy rains and flooding, leading to 29 deaths and extensive flooding. No damage figures are available.


1955

Hurricane Janet Was A Category Five Hurrican When It Hit Belize Hurricane Janet: On the 27th of September, 1955, Janet reduced Corozal Town into rubble with sustained winds reached up to 175mph. These devastating winds also produced massive flooding in the northern districts. There were 16 deaths, and 20,000 people left homeless. Though tragic, it also created an opportunity for rebuilding. Henry. C. Fairweather and Philip Goldson spearheaded the creation if a new township, complete with modern electricity, water, and sewage.


1960

The world's first weather satellite, the polar-orbiting TIROS I, was successfully launched from the Air Force Missile Test Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on April 1, 1960.

Hurrican Abby Was A Category One Hurrican When It Hit Belize The tropical depression that became Hurricane Abby developed east of the Lesser Antilles on July 10, from a tropical wave. As it crossed the islands, it rapidly strengthened into a hurricane that night. Abby remained disorganized while crossing the Caribbean Sea, and weakened back to a tropical storm on the 13th. It became better organized while approaching the coast of Belize, and reached a peak of 85 mph before hitting the country on the 15th. Abby dissipated the next day over Mexico, after causing around $600,000 (1960 USD) in damage. The storm killed six people in St. Lucia. Abby's remnants crossed over into the Pacific and later become Hurricane Celeste.


1961

Hurrican Anna Was A Category One Hurrican When It Hit Belize Hurricane Anna reached her peak of 115 mph in the South West Caribbean on July 21, 1955. After landfall in Honduras on the 23rd, Anne weakened it to a Category 2 storm. Anna caused heavy flooding in Honduras as it continued westward, crossing into Belize on the 24th as a minimal hurricane, and dissipated shortly thereafter. No Belize damage reports are available.


Hurrican Hattie Was A Category Five Hurrican When It Hit Belize Hurricane Hattie landed just south of Belize City with a central pressure of 920mb and sustained winds of 155mph winds with gusts to 200mph.

The eye passed between Belize City and Dangriga. The accompanying storm surge killed more than 400 people and left thousands homeless. Almost half of Belize City was demolished by the storm. It was this hurricane that caused George Price, and his People's United Party (PUP) to relocate the Capital City from Belize City to the safer location of Belmopan.

The barrier islands of Turneffe and Caulker Cayes were totally submerged by the 13 foot storm surge. Hattie then brought her massive surge to the mainland, flattening all buildings near the shore. Stann Creek, a small fishing village on the coast near Belize City, was completely destroyed. Following the hurricane, the village was rebuilt and renamed Hattieville.


1966

The geostationary satellite experiment began in 1966 with the launch of the first satellite of the Applications Technology Satellite (ATS) series. ATS-1, launched on December 7, 1966, carried an instrument capable of providing continuous images of the earth, and an instrument that enabled the transmission of data to and from ground stations.


1969

Hurrican Francelia Was A Category One Hurrican When It Hit Belize Hurricane Francelia hit southern Belize with 90mph winds on Sept. 4th. Francelia nearly stalled off the coast of Belize and brought prolonged rainfall with extensive flooding. The Belize River rose to over 36 feet above normal. The storm affected thousands of people and caused extensive damage to crops. Over 100 people were killed in Central America.


1971

Hurrican Edith Was A Tropical Storm When It Hit Belize Hurricane Edith was the strongest hurricane to form during the 1971 Atlantic hurricane season. It developed from a tropical wave on September 5 and quickly strengthened into a hurricane in the Caribbean Sea. Edith rapidly intensified on September 9 and made landfall on Cape Gracias a Dios as a Category 5 hurricane. It quickly lost intensity over Central America and after briefly entering the Gulf of Honduras it made landfall near Belize City as a weak Tropical Storm then crossed the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. After moving across the Gulf of Mexico a trough turned the storm to the northeast and Edith, after having re-strengthened while accelerating towards the coast, made landfall on Louisiana with winds of 105 mph (170 km/h) on September 16. Edith steadily weakened over land and dissipated over Georgia on September 18.

Edith killed two people when it passed near Aruba. Striking northeastern Central America as a Category 5 hurricane, the storm destroyed hundreds of homes and killed at least 35 people.


Tropical Storm Laura Tropical Storm Laura Began as a large, sprawling cloud mass originating over Panama and formed a tropical depression on November 12 in the Caribbean Sea. Two days after its formation, it became a tropical storm northeast of the coast of Honduras.

Laura moved to the northwest for the following days due to an approaching cold front, but when a high pressure built to its north on the 16th, Laura executed a small loop just south of Cuba. Here Laura reached her peak intensity of 70 mph. As Laura moved to the southwest, she weakened drastically, but managed to regain her peak intensity prior to her landfall on Belize (then known as British Honduras) on the 21st. Laura dissipated the next day over Central America


1974

On May 17, 1974 the first of two experimental SMS satellites, (Synchronous Meteorological Satellite) was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fl. SMS-1 carried a Visible Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer (VISSR), a Space Environment Monitor (SEM), and a Data Collection System (DCS). The satellite continuously monitored broad areas of the Earth, obtained both day and night data, and collected and relayed data from over 10,000 central ground stations.

On October 16, 1975, the first satellite under the GOES Program (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) was launched. Thus began the modern era of Satellite assisted weather forecasting.


Hurrican Fifi Was A Category Two Hurrican When It hit Belize Hurricane Fifi made landfall as a Category 2 storm in Belize on the 19th, with 85 to 120mph winds reported in Belize City and tides 10 to 12 ft. above normal. The storm continued through Guatemala and Mexico as a tropical system. After weakening to a depression, Fifi emerged into the Pacific Ocean, Fifi in 1 day dumped up to 24 inches of rain on neighboring Honduras. The resulting landslides and floods killed an estimated 8,000 people, making Fifi the 2nd deadliest Atlantic hurricane. In 1989 Hurricane Mitch bumped Fifi to third place in this infamous category.


1978

Hurrican Greta Was A Category Two Hurrican When It hit Belize Hurricane Greta made landfall on September 19th  in the Stann Creek District of southern Belize. Belize City tides were 6 feet above normal in some locations. Improved warnings by the governments of Honduras, Belize, and their neighbors reduced the death toll to five, with one death in Honduras and four deaths in Belize.


In 1979 the United States began using both male and female names for Atlantic Basin storms


1980

Tropical Storm Hermine Was A Tropical Storm When It hit Belize Tropical Storm Hermine began as an African tropical wave. It organized into a tropical storm off the coast of Honduras on September 21. After grazing Honduras, a disorganized made landfall just north of Belize City on the 22nd. After crossing the Yucatan Peninsula, Hermine briefly emerged over the Bay of Campeche where it re-strengthened before recurving back into the Mexican coast. The storm drifted inland and its surface dissipated on September 26. The remnant disturbance tracked around the southern and western periphery of Mexico over the next few days.

Hermine caused freshwater flooding in Mexico. Storm total rainfall across Mexico reached as high as 31.15 inches (791 mm) at San Pedro, Tapanatepec. No reports on Honduras and Belize were received by the NHC, but meteorologists stated that similar flooding likely occurred there as well.


1998

Hurrican Mitch Was A Category Five Hurrican When Made Landfall Just South Belize Hurricane Mitch spared Belize its 160MPH winds but the torrential rains cause extensive damage to crops and roads. Mitch became the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since the Great Hurricane of 1780. Nearly eleven thousand people were confirmed dead, and almost as many were reported missing and never found.

Deaths were mostly from flooding and mud slides in Central America, where the slow-moving storm dropped nearly 3 feet of rain. The flooding and mud slides damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of homes, with total damage estimated to be over $6 billion.

Prior to Mitch, the deadliest hurricane to affect Central America was Hurricane Fifi in 1974, which killed an estimated 8,000–10,000 people, mostly in Honduras and Nicaragua.

The arrival of Hurricane Mitch ended a string of 18 years in which no tropical cyclone struck Belize


2000

Hurrican Keith Was A Category Four Hurrican When It hit Belize Hurricane Keith lingered just offshore Ambergris Caye as a Category 4 storm with 135mph winds, then slowly moved across Chetumal Bay which emptied out due to strong north winds. There was heavy damage on the cayes.


2001

Tropical Storm Chantal Was A Tropical Storm When It Made Landfall Just North of Belize Tropical Storm Chantal moved across the Caribbean Sea in August 2001. Chantal developed from a tropical wave on August 14 in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It tracked rapidly westward degenerating into a tropical wave it passed through the Windward Islands. Chantal reached a peak intensity of 70 miles per hour but never obtained hurricane status. On August 21 Chantal moved ashore near the border of Mexico and Belize, and the next day it dissipated.

Chantal produced a wind gust of 71 miles per hour on Caye Caulker, and stronger winds were possible in a convective band to the north. Moderate rainfall was reported across Belize, peaking at 9.81 inches at Towerhill station. Along the coast, high waves damaged sea walls and piers. Further inland, the combination of winds and flooding caused agriculture and infrastructure damage throughout Belize, with total damage estimated at $4 million (2001 USD).

This Tropical Storm produced wind gust up to 62 miles per hour in Chetumal. Chantal dropped moderate to heavy rainfall all along its path, with one station near Chetumal reporting total of 20.03 inches. The remnants of Chantal continued to produced rainfall along the coast of Bay of Campeche. The passage of the storm resulted in downed trees and power lines, as well as damaged buildings. Heavy rainfall led to mud slides across Quintana Roo, leaving some areas isolated. Overall damage was minor and no deaths were reported.


Hurrican Iris Was A Category Four Hurrican When It hit Belize Hurricane Iris hit southern Belize on Oct 8th with 145mph winds causing major damage to nearly 95% of buildings in Placencia. From Sunday night, October 7th, 2001, when Iris just had winds of 90 mph until its landfall in Belize at around 11 PM EDT on Monday night, October 8th, Hurricane Iris developed into such a monster that it registered as the strongest hurricane of the 2001 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

In Belize, a total of 3,718 homes were destroyed by Iris' strong winds and 14 ft storm surge. Nineteen schools were destroyed and 12 others were damaged; 21 governmental buildings were damaged, including two police stations that were destroyed. All power was lost to the affected regions, costing roughly $1.25 million to restore. Total damages to infrastructure was estimated at $8.15 million. The agricultural sector sustained severe damage and losses. Most livestock were killed during the storm, the shrimping industry lost 25% of their catch and large areas of farmland were inundated by flood waters. Losses in the agricultural industry were estimated at $74.5 million. 31 people were killed by the storm 20 of those were people on a dive boat, M/V Wave Dancer, when it capsized at the dock in Big Creek and eight others were listed as missing.

In Guatemala, high winds and heavy rains, generally amounting to 3 to 4 inches, triggered flash flooding, triggered flash flooding and landslides that killed at least 5 people and injured nearly 100 others. An estimated 27,500 people were affected by the storm throughout the country. In central Guatemala, 2,500 homes were damaged and along the Belize border, another 1,200 were destroyed.


2007

Hurrican Dean Was A Category Five Hurrican When It Made Landfall Just North of Belize Hurricane Dean, made landfall as a Category 5 storm only 25 miles north of the Belize/Mexico border. Dean caused extensive damage in northern Belize. Take a look at our Hurricane Dean information.

Hurrican Feliz Was A Category Five Hurrican When It Passed Just South of Belize Hurricane Felix, another Category 5 storm passed to the South with great loss of life and property in Nicaragua and Honduras.

The USA's National Hurricane Center had Felix forecast to strike Belize near Belize City for several days before the storm decided to maintain it's westward track and leave Belize untouched.


2008

Tropical Storm Arthur Formed Over Belize Tropical Storm Arthur began in the Eastern Pacific and the rapidly developing system was named Tropical Storm Alma by the NHC at 1100 AM PDT Thursday, May 29th. Alma was the first storm of the 2008 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season. Alma dissipated May 30th but all that moisture and energy had entered the Gulf of Honduras in the North West Caribbean. At 300PM CST the NHC named Tropical Storm Arthur, the first named storm of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season, one day before the season's official start. When Arthur was named, the center had already made landfall in Northern Belize. For the complete story, visit our Tropical Storm Arthur page.


Around October 16th Tropical Depression 16 formed off the coast of Southern Belize. Record rainfall  from this weak system caused unprecedented flooding throughout the country. For the whole story on DT-16 visit our Floods Of October page.


2010

Hurricane Alex Hurricane Alex , the first Tropical Cyclone of the 2010 Atlantic Basin Hurricane, made landfall along the coast of Belize on Saturday June 26, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. TS Alex moved WNW at 8 mph with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, storm surge of three to five ( 3-5) feet and rainfall of four to eight (4-8) inches were forecasted as the System moved inland. The "All Clear" for the system was issued at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, 27 June 2010. Alex caused heavy rains throughout Belize with pockets of gusty winds in excess of 40 knots in areas of Ambergris Caye, Corozal, Orange Walk and Belize Districts. There were no causalities directly related to Tropical Storm Alex. Initial economic losses estimated at BZ$2.5m.

Alex crossed the Yucatan Peninsula and strengthened into a Category One Hurricane before making landfall near the US / Mexico border. While there were no deaths associated with Alex in Belize, fourteen people were killed in Central America as a result of Alex related flooding: six in Nicaragua, six in El Salvador, and two in Guatemala. In Guatemala, 350 homes and eight highways were damaged, affecting 9,000 people.

In Northern Mexico, the storm caused severe devastation in Nuevo Leon, and in particular throughout the Monterey metropolitan area. State governor Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz called Alex the "Worst weather phenomenon in its history." In the municipality of Santa Catarina alone, 50,000 people were affected, with property damage being estimated at $93.5 million USD. Alex caused 12 deaths in Mexico.

With his lowest barometric pressure reading of 947 mbar, Alex became the most intense Atlantic hurricane in June since Hurricane Audrey, in 1957. Alex was therefore, the second most intense June hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin.


Hurricane Karl Hurricane Karl made his first landfall just north of Chetumal, Mexico with 65mph winds and heavy rain. Northern Belize receive tropical storm force winds and heavy rain from early morning Wednesday, September 15th until just before noon. Rain fall total in Consejo, Belize for the storm was 4.5 inches.

Karl crossed the Yucatan Peninsula through Wednesday and emerged in the Bay of Campeche where it rapidly regained all the strength lost passing over land. Early Friday morning, Karl under went rapid intensification, becoming a strong Category 3 Hurricane with 115mph winds, before making his second landfall 15 miles north the city of Veracruz, at 10:30am. The Government of Mexico has estimated damage caused by Karl at US$3.7 Billion. Media reports indicate that a total of 22 people were killed, with most of the deaths occurring in the Mexican State of Veracruz.

We sometimes forget that tropical systems affect more than the tropics or coastal areas.

Sept. 27, 2010: In Portage, Wisconsin, about 25 miles north of Madison, a sub-standard 120-year-old levee failed, thanks to flood waters 4.5 feet above flood stage on the Wisconsin River. The river was swollen by heavy rains of up to seven inches that fell in its watershed to the northwest. The rains were generated by a plume of very moist air associated with what was Hurricane Karl.


Tropical Storm Matthew Tropical Storm Matthew made his first landfall near the Nicaragua / Honduras border Friday Sept. 24th around noon local time. The storm was packing 65mph winds and heavy rain. It retained Tropical Storm intensity even after crossing the mountains of Honduras. The storm spent a brief time over the waters of the NW Caribbean before making a second landfall in Southern Belize on Saturday, the 25th also about noon local time. Toledo and Stan Creek districts received heavy rain that caused moderate flooding with the resulting bridge closures. Northern Belize receive gale force winds and heavy rain in squalls from Friday night through Sunday Morning.

Matthew moved into Guatemala dumping heavy rain then into Mexico where the storm stalled and dissipated. Mexico also received flooding rains in the same region Hurricane Karl visited just 10 days earlier.

There were a total of 73 fatalities associated with Matthew. Sixty-five of these deaths occurred in Nicaragua. In Mexico seven fatalities were reported; five in the state of Chiapas, and two in Nuevo Leon. One man drowned in El Salvador, and another man was reported missing.

No monetary damage estimates are available. In Guatemala, however, over 1,000 homes were reported damaged in Guatemala. In Honduras, 172 homes were damaged, several bridges and roads were damaged or destroyed, and rice, banana, and sugarcane crops were ruined. In Nicaragua, corn and bean harvests were also affected. Approximately 15,000 people in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras were evacuated because of the storm.


Hurricane Richard Hurricane Richard roared in from the sea the evening of Sunday, October 24th, crushing the picturesque village of Gales Point Manatee, which was directly in its path. Richard rampaged westward over open country to Belmopan, Roaring Creek, Camalote, Teakettle, Ontario and Unitedville, destroying village homes and tearing up the landscape. The storm pummeled central and southern Belize for 8 hours with winds of nearly 90 miles per hour and torrential rains. Richard cause most the nation to loose power, downed some of the tallest trees and electricity poles, ripped off roofing, banged up wooden homes, and left a trail of substantial wreckage in its path.

The hurricane was expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm after landfall, but Richard maintained winds of over hurricane force while within Belize's borders. The nation's capital, Belmopan, which was built 50 miles inland 29 years ago following Hurricane Hattie, experienced a strong category 1 hurricane with winds between 80 and 90 miles per hour.

Early reports claim 831 homes either partially or completely damaged across 55 communities, during the course of the hurricane. National Emergency Coordinator Noreen Fairweather puts the initial damage estimate at Bz$49.2 million with $34.7 million in losses to agriculture and $14.5 million due to damage to homes. These figures are likely to grow.

At least three deaths are linked to the hurricane. Brian Cullerton was mauled to death by a jaguar which escaped when his cage was struck by a fallen tree in the hurricane. The jaguar was recaptured and put down on Wednesday. Arturo Gilharry, one of three men trapped on the raging seas, died when the hurricane capsized their boat. Edmund Forte survived the ordeal but Barrington Gomez, the third man in the boat, could not be found and is presumed to have died.


2011

Tropical Storm Harvey Tropical Storm Harvey was the last in a record-breaking string of eight consecutive storms that reached only tropical storm status. It was also the only Tropical Cyclone of the 2011 season to make landfall in Belize.

high winds and heavy rain were noted in Dangriga,Belize during the storm, but there were no reports of damage or casualties there. In Mexico,three people were killed in San Lucas Zoquiapam, Oaxaca, due to a landslide hitting their home. Although no specific rainfall total are available, Harvey caused significant floods, and 334 homes were damaged in the municipality of Veracruz.


2012

Hurricane Ernesto Hurricane Ernesto formed in the Atlantic, the first Cape Verde Storm of the season. After struggling with moderate shear and dry Saharan Air, Ernesto became a Tropical Storm as it entered the Eastern Caribbean. Continuing to struggle with less than ideal atmospheric conditions, Ernesto finally developed into a Cat 1 Hurricane just South of Jamacia.

Hurricane Ernesto made landfall just South of Mahahual, Mexico or about 45 miles North East of Consejo, Belize as a strong Category 1 storm with 85mph winds. Belize suffered minor wind damage and some severe flooding from the nearly 8" of rain dropped by the storm.


Earlier Storms That Affected Belize

Click Image For The Full Season Tracking Map

1864: While there were 5 storms this season, only one affected any landmass as a tropical system; a hurricane hitting Belize.


1892: On October 5, the 7th storm of the season formed east of Trinidad and Tobago. It made landfalls on Paraguaná, Guajira, and after tracking across the Caribbean Sea, another near Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua – Honduras border as a 100 mph Category 2. The storm made its fourth  landfall in Belize and then final landfall in Tampico before dissipating inland on October 16.


1893: Second storm of the season formed in the western Caribbean Sea north of Panama on July 4. The storm intensified to an 95 mph (153 km/h) hurricane before hitting the northeast coast of Honduras. It mainly retained its strength until it hit the northeastern coast of Belize on July 6. Afterwards, it rapidly weakened over the Yucatan Peninsula and dissipated on July 7. The storm sank several ships and reportedly caused a large loss of life.


1906: Also known as the 1906 Florida Keys Hurricane, this hurricane formed in the southwestern Caribbean Sea west of Cartagena, Colombia on October 8. Moving westward, the tropical storm intensified to a hurricane on October 9 and reached its first peak of 115 mph (185 km/h) on October 10, turned to the west-northwest, and made landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 3 major hurricane. The hurricane weakened to a tropical storm on October 11 after moving inland, turned northwest, and the system re-emerged in the southern Gulf of Honduras on October 12. The system then began to re-intensify to a hurricane, and the storm made landfall shortly thereafter near Chetumal, MX and what is now Consejo, Belize as a 90 mph (150 km/h) Category 1 hurricane.


1918: Hurricane Two effected the northern coast of South America and the southern Lesser Antilles with tropical storm force winds. But hurricane force winds effected Honduras, and Belize.


1921: On June 17th Tropical Storm One made landfall near Belize City. It made a second landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near Sargent, TX on the 22nd.


Worst Loss of Life from Central American and Caribbean Hurricanes

  • Great Hurricane: October 1780 - Lesser Antilles 22,000+
  • Hurricane Mitch: October-November 1998 - Central America 11,000+
  • Hurricane Fifi: September 1974 - Honduras 6,000 - 12,000
  • Unnamed: September 1930 - Dominican Republic 2,000 - 8,000
  • Hurricane Flora: September-October 1963 - Haiti and Cuba 7,200+
  • Unnamed: September 1776 Martinique 6,000

 

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