Aug 112016
 
Hurricane Earl Slams Belize

Hurricane Earl first Struck Ambergris Caye in Belize during the wee hours of the morning. Just after midnight on Aug. 04, 2016. With sustained winds of 80MPH Earl had only just made the Cat I hurricane classification hours prior to hitting Belize.
Photo Courtesy of RobertjHawkins of “Bound For Belize”.

Hurricane Earl Arrives Overnight.

Hurricane Earl first Struck Ambergris Caye in Belize during the wee hours of the morning. Just after midnight on Aug. 04, 2016. With sustained winds of 80MPH Earl had only just made the Cat I hurricane classification hours prior to hitting Belize.

Ambergris Caye Was Hit First.

In San Pedro, although there were no deaths reported at the time of this post, most of the businesses and infrastructure along the shoreline were totally destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Here is a link to a photo tour of the devastation reported by Robert J Hawkins the morning after. 

Belize City Was Lucky, But Not Unscathed.

In Belize City, flooding was reported. Earl hit the mainland north of Belize City which is fortunate for the city. The effects or the counterclockwise motion meant the winds would have been blowing offshore reducing the effects of the up to 5 ft. Storm surge and wave over effect. Much of Belize City is below sea level and when hurricanes hit south of the city the onshore winds pull the storm surge onshore having a much more devastating effect. Here is a video of the flooding and damage as reported by News 5 lives video the morning after. 

Hurricane Earl Weakened As It Moved Inland.

In Bullet Tree almost at the west border, Hurricane Earl weakened considerably. We experienced heavy wind and rains but other than small tree damage there was not much to mention. In Bullet Tree and I suspect in other parts of the country the danger didn’t end when Earl passed.  Hurricane Earl brought up to 12 inches of rain and with it a threat of flooding as the rivers swelled. People with homes by the river were ordered to evacuate yesterday as the Mopan River was rising at a rate of about 6 inches per hour and threatening those in the low lying areas and beside the river. Here is my YouTube video of the river yesterday and this morning to give you an idea of just how fast and to what degree flash flooding can occur.

A Reminder To Take These Storm Seriously and Be Prepared.

This is a reminder of the importance of taking all precautions during a hurricane watch. Hurricane Earl was a Cat I, and the destruction to Ambergris Caye was devastating. But as the Hurricane classification increases, so does the resulting damage increase exponentially. Here is a link to the National Hurricane Center that has a model at the bottom of the page that illustrates this.

The History of Hurricanes in Belize and how to be prepared is outlined in my article published on June 06, 2016 titled Hurricane Season In Belize – How To Be Prepared.

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  10 Responses to “HURRICANE EARL HITS BELIZE ~ AUG 04, 2016”

  1. Great, informative article. Thanks for the info and pics..

  2. Thanks for the update.

  3. Do you think it is a good idea to come to ambergris caye because of the storm damage or should I look some where else.

    • Hey Jim,
      I just returned from Ambergris Caye yesterday after a week of volunteering my construction experience to help rebuild San Mateo. That is the area north and west of the bridge if you are familiar with San Pedro. The debris has all been cleaned up, the dive shops are back in business. There are some reclaimed materials stacked periodically along the beach waiting to be reused, but except for a few businesses that are gone, San Pedro which was hardest hit is open for business as usual. I encourage anyone that has plans to come to not cancel their plans. The islands rely on tourist dollars in the recovery effort and your experience should not change much. Send me an email and let me know where you are staying and I can be more specific.

  4. I won’t be in Belize until late February ’17, but will be staying the last 3 days of my 13 day trip in San Pedro. I’ve booked at the Isla Bonita Yacht Club, online, so there was no mention of what, if any, damage they sustained. Do you happen to know?

    I really enjoy these posts, by the way. I am a Coloradan considering retiring there, somewhere. This will be my first trip to explore and I’m excited! My first 10 nights will be in San Ignacio, as I also want to see some ruins and other sights while I’m there.

    Also, I want to make the trip over to Tikal, but I’m hearing of unrest between Guatemala and Belize. Is that impeding tourist travel back and forth between the two countries in any way?

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Sandy;
      Thank you for your kind words about my posts. I appreciate hearing that you follow, and that you enjoy them.

      I am glad to hear you are visiting and exploring where the best place for “you” is to live. Many (as we did), just decide on the beaches and Cayes without much thought to anywhere else. I think you will enjoy San Ignacio. After a year and a half in San Pedro, we moved to Bullet Tree which is just outside of San Ignacio and love it here. We do go into San Ignacio to the market and for banking and such. Maybe we will run into you in February when you are here. Where are you staying in SI? Cahal Peche in San Ignacio has a smaller ruin for visiting as well.

      For you last three days in San Pedro you will find Isla Bonita Yacht Club is a beautiful resort. I was in San Pedro about a month and a half ago, the yacht club and grounds with beautiful gardens were undamaged. Their dock was destroyed as were many others but is probably repaired by now. When I was there everything had been cleaned up everywhere already, except for the occasional pile of reclaimed construction materials on the beach which I’m sure will be gone for your arrival as everyone rushes to rebuild for the start of high season in November.

      As far as gong to Tikal, I would not worry too much. If you take a tour and enter Guatemala through Benque Viejo you will not have any problems. I would recommend one of the local tours rather than doing it on your own though. The periodic conflicts you hear about are in a more remote area of the border where there is not much development. Benque Viejo is a border town where both Belizeans and Guatemalans cross regularly for work and to go to school.

      Anyway, I hope this helps, and I hope you enjoy your visit. If you are up to it, or if I can be of any help while you are here, you will find my email and phone number on the contacts page. Please feel free to contact me.

      Regards Bill

  5. Hello bill my name is Wade & we live in Canada on Vancouver Island first I want to say I love your site we are learning all about Belize & you are a wealth of great info. & the more we learn about this amazing country the more we fall in love with it so we have derided to move there full time in about 10 months & become citizens I,m 57 but started my family later in life so we means my wife Lisa & our 3 sons Ocean 13 ,Westly 11 & Cyrus 9 we will be looking for a place to rent for the first few months or until we find our forever property to start a eco tourism or B & B & than get involved in environmental conservation one of my boys wants to start a Lizard sanctuary to rehabilitate injured lizards & return them to the wild & you are helping them learn all about Belize so hurricane info is a must know but has not discouraged them at all so thank you for all the honest information I will subscribe & we look forward to getting to know you & Belize better & maybe get together some time tell then CHEERS. Have a great green day. Wade & family.

    • Hi Wade (& family);
      Thank you for your very kind words about the site. I appreciate hearing that you are finding value in it, and learning a few things about Belize.

      I lived in Victoria for a year in 1987, and flowers in February is as close to Belize as you can probably get in Canada.

      I like your plan. I always encourage renting at first and taking time to explore the whole country before making any decision to buy and settle. I would encourage you to take your time when exploring schooling for your children, and in starting a business. These processes are much more difficult and require more time than in Canada. Your son with an interest in lizards will like one of my earliest posts on iguanas. The San Ignacio Hotel is the home of “The Iguana Project” dedicated to just what he is interested in. Rehabilitating iguanas and returning them to the wild.

      Hurricanes are a must to know about with regards to how to be prepared. The warning systems and collaboration of international weather services has very much improved over the years and while some areas are routinely evacuated, there are seldom any deaths or injuries to those that heed the warnings and follow the precautions.

      Good luck with your research. Thanks again for your kind review of my site and for subscribing. I will also look forward to getting to you all better as well. If I can be of help with questions or concerns, please let me know and we can arrange a video chat if you like, when you are ready.

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