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Tropical Storm Alex causes heavy rains throughout Belize with pockets of gusty winds exceeding 40 mph. Initial economic losses estimated at BZ$2.5m.

Event:
The first Tropical Cyclone of the 2010 Atlantic Basin Hurricane, Tropical Storm Alex 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.

Prognosis:
Tropical Storm Alex is no longer a threat to Belize. Rivers will be for any flooding resulting from rains associated with the passage of the system over the Yucatan.

Impact:
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

The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) Secretariat has provided an Initial Situation Report of the impact of Tropical Storm Alex.  

Belize District and Cayo District was impacted as follows:

Belize District: shallow water was observed over sections of the roads in the following areas; Manatee Bridge on the Manatee Road (Coastal Road); Old Northern Highway; Lemonal Road; Flowers Bank Road; Isabella Bank Road and Rancho Dolores.  Minimal damages were identified to Piers and Streets in San Pedro and Caye Caulker.

Cayo District: the Low-level Bridge in San Ignacio was impassable; Baking Pot Ferry was closed; Iguana Creek Bridge was closed; Roaring River road was impassable to small vehicles; the new More Tomorrow Road was impassable and sections of Jaguar Paw Road had two feet of water and a Culvert was damaged.

Damages by sector

  • Housing.  No significant damage. Some timber structures were blown over.
  • Infrastructure. No significant damage. Some water has encroached across the roads.
  • Tourism. Impact on the sector still being determined.
  • Agriculture. Initial reports indicate minimal losses to sugar cane, papaya, banana and citrus.  Moderate damage of the plantain crop and trees has been reported in the Maskall and Bomba villages in the Belize District.
  • Rural Water Supply. No reported disruptions.
  • Telecommunications/ Electricity. Power outages were experienced in Sections of Orange Walk Town, Royal Palm Area of San Pedro and Belize River Valley.
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture. There are no significant signs of disruptions to coastal aquaculture systems.
  • Education. No predicted disruption to education services.
  • Environment. The Sewer Treatment System in Belize City showed signs of elevated water levels within the sewer ponds. This is being monitored for risks of vectors and other related health risks.

The waters of the Barrier Reef lagoon shows clouding due to sediment upturn most likely attributable to rough seas. There are indications of sea grass bed disruptions within the lagoon.  Trumpet trees have suffered significant leaf loss.

Actions by NEMO Belize:

NEMO monitored the area of low pressure which developed into Tropical Storm Alex from Thursday June 24, 2010 and alerted the public. NEMO also activated all Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs) countrywide on Friday 25th June, 2010 when TS Alex became an imminent threat to Belize.  

Shelters:
Shelters were opened and manned in San Pedro; Belize City; Belize; Orange Walk and Corozal Districts.  Two hundred and forty seven (247) persons were in shelter from 4:00 p.m., June 26, 2010, to 7:00 a.m., June 27, 2010 when the shelters were closed.  

Search and Rescue:
On June 26, 2010, sixteen (16) persons from offshore Belize City (Banister Caye) and twenty-one (21) persons from the Actun Tunich Hill, Muknal Cave system in the Cayo District were rescued.

Evacuation of Residents:
NEMO also facilitated the relocation of vulnerable people on the Islands of San Pedro and Caye Caulker to safe buildings on higher ground to weather the Storm.

Needs:
Based on the preliminary assessment the initial economic losses including the cost of Human Resources and equipment is estimated at BZ$2.5m. Detailed Sectoral Assessments have been initiated to determine immediate and medium term needs for people and sectors affected.

Actions by Coordinating Unit:
CDEMA made contact with the affected state to get an overview of the situation and offer any assistance required.

This is considered as a Level 1 event, which means that the situation is managed at the national level. It is recognized that the potential exists for an upgrade of this level once further assessment is undertaken.

CDEMA will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as appropriate.

Contact Details: the CDEMA CU 24Hr contact number is 246-425-0386

 

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