Message: Hurricane Watch issued for Belize; Southern Lesser Antilles experiencing dangerous rough seas (as at 8.00a.m. September 24, 2010)

The Situation:
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Belize. This means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area within 48 hours.  At 8.00am today, Friday, September 24, the center of Tropical Storm Matthew was estimated near latitude 14.3 north longitude 80.7 west.  Matthew is moving toward the west near 16 mph (26 km/hr).  Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph (85 km/hr) with higher gusts. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center.Tropical Storm Matthew is also producing dangerous waves along the normally sheltered west coast of most of the southern Lesser Antilles.


Tropical Storm Matthew is expected to take a gradual turn toward the west-northwest and a decrease in forward speed is expected during the next 48 hours.  On its present path, it is anticipated that Belize will be impacted by hurricane force winds on Sunday September 26, 2010.

Mathew is strengthening and drifting northwest.  Forecasts indicate that Matthew could become a hurricane later today before it moves closer to Central America.  On its present path, and with some possible strengthening, Belize can be affected with hurricane conditions by Sunday September 26, 2010. Heavy rain fall is to be expected throughout the country.  Significant wind and storm surge accompanied by dangerous waves are also predicted as Matthew moves closer to Belize.

Matthew is also expected to produce total rainfall of 6 to 10 inches over portions of Nicaragua and Honduras, with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches possible that may result in life threatening flash floods and mud slides.

National Actions:
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) met yesterday to discuss the threat. As a result, the preliminary phase of the Belize Hurricane Plan was activated at 6.00am, today Friday, September 24, 2010. The Government of Belize issued a Hurricane Watch at 6.00am today and all schools have been ordered closed by the Ministry of Education.

The public has been advised that preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

As early as yesterday, advisories were issued urging persons living in flood prone areas to move early. Evacuation advisories were also issued for the Cayes and coastal areas.  

Public officers are on standby for deployment to carry out their emergency duties.

Designated shelters and evacuation pick up points will be announced later today

NEMO continues to be on high alert as it monitors Tropical Storm Matthew.

Regional Response:
The CDEMA Coordinating Unit has been in contact with NEMO Secretariat and will continue to maintain communication and monitor the situation.

CDEMA is also monitoring Participating States that are threatened by rough seas and dangerous storm surge associated with TS Matthew.

The CDEMA Coordinating Unit stands ready to provide response support should this become necessary.

The Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology continues to provide analysis on the storm’s development and probable effects on the region for CDEMA’s response scenario planning.

The Regional Response Mechanism is requested to be on alert as we monitor the development of the system.

Contact Details: The CDEMA CU 24hr contact number is 1 246 425 0386