Today, Friday, November 30, marks the conclusion of the 2012 hurricane season. It was a season that saw well above average activity.
During this year’s season, there were 19 named systems. Of these, nine were tropical storms. Ten systems became hurricanes and one attained major hurricane status. Hurricane Michael was the only major hurricane of the season, with maximum wind speed of 115 miles per hour.
In a typical season based on the period covering the years 1950 to 2000, there would be on average 9 to 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 to 3 major hurricanes of category 3, 4 or 5. Conditions such as the El Niño phenomenon which was to have a suppressing effect on this year’s tropical cyclone activity did not evolve as timely as predicted – hence the above average tropical cyclone activity this year.
Here at home, Belize had a close call with Hurricane Ernesto. This hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, made landfall just south of Mahahual, Quintana Roo, Mexico at about 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday, August 7. The track of Hurricane Ernesto focused the likely impacts mainly on the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts.
However, impacts to infrastructure were negligible, with the agricultural sector suffering some losses. Ernesto not only turned out to be largely an inconvenience, but also set the stage for a major flooding event that was to follow in the following six days or so in the Corozal District, particularly in the town itself.
Citizens are advised to review their preparedness plans in order to identify those parts that did not function properly this past 2012 season, with an aim to improving on those failures and weaknesses. This would lead to enhanced safety and preparedness for the 2013 season.
We at the National Meteorological Service will continue to work diligently to improve on our products and services during this off season, so as to be better able to provide even more timely and accurate tropical cyclone forecasts in addition to the other routine services provided daily.