Features — 10 October 2018
Cold fronts signal end of hurricane season

Folk in Belize who don’t have weather credentials know that the hurricane season ends when the cold fronts start coming in from the north. Google says that a “cold front is defined as the transition zone where a cold air mass is replacing a warmer air mass. Cold fronts generally move from northwest to southeast. The air behind a cold front is noticeably colder and drier than the air ahead of it.”

Fall begins in North America around the end of September, somewhere between the longest day, June 21, and the shortest day, December 21. Fall is a cool period which falls between the hot days of summer and the cold days of winter. Sometime during the fall up north, the cool winds start blowing into our area. The cold fronts are spawns of winter, which starts in late December up north, but we can get them as early as November. When the cold fronts come, we know we can start to breathe easier.

Last Thursday, there was a slightly chill wind from the west, and this of course caused folk who respect the huff and puff of hurricanes to get their hopes up. I learned later that there was a weather system coming in from the east, but my hopes were on an early winter. Winter is always good news for Belize.

I expect you know already, if you don’t know me personally, that the person writing this piece is either mature or, if he is a child or youth, he is an exception. I could be wrong, but it is my feeling that young people, generally, would want that big bad wolf to blow in. It is about the only way, outside of an epidemic, to force schools to close their doors. I have heard that there are children who actually don’t mind being bullied by teachers, but I haven’t met any.

It was tradition in Belize for us to sing, June too soon, July stand by, August get set, September remember, and October all over. In the world of hurricanes, September had earned the most notoriety. It was not until Hattie turned like a boomerang that October got a name for big trouble. The fact is that October has become the month to cross fingers and toes and pray for the north wind.

A quick check of hurricanes and major tropical storms that hit Belize shows H Earl, TS Dean, Chantal, and Harvey in August; H Belize 1931, Janet, Francelia, Fifi, and Greta in September, and H Hattie, Keith, Iris, and Richard in October. H Mitch, which threatened Belize and dumped a lot of water, was October weather. My check shows only one hurricane to hit Belize in November, an unnamed bad wolf of 1942.

What weather system turned Hattie

It would take some dedicated research by one of our weather forecasters to show how much the weather up north has affected the paths of hurricanes that hit our country. It is a fact that Hattie, one of the worst hurricanes in our history, and definitely the most impactful, hit us because of a weather system from up north. How could we forget, after Belizean songster, Cleveland Berry, memorialized it in song: From Puerto Rico, it went past Jamaica; Then they said it was heading for Cuba; But, like a boomerang; It turned on its course for Belize, my land.

The Wikipedia says, “Early on October 29, a trough extending from Nicaragua to Florida was expected to allow Hattie to continue northward, based on climatology for similar hurricanes… a strengthening ridge to the north turned the hurricane northwestward, which spared the Greater Antilles but increased the threat to Central America.

The weatherprediction.com/habyhints says that “troughs tend to bring in cooler and cloudier weather as they approach while ridges tend to bring in warmer and drier weather as they approach.” So, following that line, it was the warmer weather that sent Hattie our way. Again, it will take a serious weatherman to explain how these weather systems affect hurricanes. I say, you have to know WHAT to pray for. For as long as I have “known”, it was a cold front that turned Hattie toward us.

If it was a cold front, then it was the most ill-timed, costly, impactful cold front in our history. The Wikipedia says Hattie cost Belize $60million, and killed 307 people. Hattie was the catalyst for a mass exodus of Belizeans to the USA, and for the construction of Hattieville and Belmopan.

Henry made Paul go low

I caught the Plus TV Friday Show a little late, so I might not be COMPLETELY fair in what I am going to write here. Look, there’s no way I can get to see the full show, and I can’t let it pass. I saw Senator Henry Gordon topple over Paul Morgan, Bobby Lopez, and Louis Wade. That much I can report for sure. Hmm, Brother Paul Morgan knows where to find me and I won’t hesitate to apologize if I am corrected.

I really have to give Senator Henry Gordon his full due for bringing the heat on Friday. Henry Gordon is a man who goes the extra mile to be meek. But even the most humble brother can get tired of having other males flex their muscles around them.Friday, Henry put his foot down.

I expect the show’s host and station owner, Louis Wade, will need a full week to recover after Henry told him to “stop play with words.” Louis has his turf, but too often he is like those doctors who think, because they have more book laaning than most everyone else, that they cover all the bases. Brother Ray Auxillou (I’m pretty sure he is the man) explained in an article that appeared in the Belize Times some years ago, that there are no people on the planet that accountants like more than doctors. He said doctors have money and they are prime bait for the money managers.

Bobby did not have that much to say in the little segment of the show that I caught. Bobby is really resilient. Just a few weeks ago he got stepped on by the present political leaders of Belmopan, felt the force of the government’s police.

There is no doubt that Brother PaulMorgan, former leader of the VIP, and a favorite in Belmopan because his veins overflow with the milk of human kindness and community service, has studied extensively. On Friday he was all science, equipped with his slideshow, a presentation designed to explain his arguments so even the least interested of us can get the sense.

Paul Morgan is a prominent No Vote, and he was going on and on about the fault of the compromis. The No Vote has latched on to the compromis like that vicious bulldog on White Fang in Jack London’s book. If we follow the line, there are No Votes who would readily go to the ICJ, but won’t because of the compromis. We Yes Votes all know that is only a distraction. But up until Friday, we didn’t know how to pull the rug and watch them topple over.

As I noted, Paul was going on about the terrible hidden dangers in the compromis. Each time he did, Brother Henry brought him back, to 1859. Paul insisted. He insisted until Henry really put his pehteh down.

You have to forgive me; I am not able to relate how forceful Henry was when he hammered the point home, that going to the ICJ is a legal matter and the compromis is just an agreement to look at the 1859 Treaty. Ouch, after he was finished, our friend Paul grew very quiet. Paul usually fights like a kingfish, but he knew he couldn’t shake that hook.Every time the camera turned to him I watched him closely, waiting to see how he would regroup.During this period, Bobby expressed some of the regular complaints of the No Crowd about our case. During this period, also, is when Louis Wade started playing with words, and Henry stomped him down.

Paul did not fully engage again until the end of the show, when he was called to make his final comments. This is when high quality Paul Morgan went low and savagely attacked the dignity of the Yessers. He made some of the regular accusations. And then, woe, he spoke of his disappointment with Belizeans who couldn’t see how terribly undignified it was to go to court with a country that is claiming our land!

All I will say is, Paul, you really didn’t have to go there. Of course we are wrestling with it. Most of us would have wanted for us to be ready to fight Guatemala, if it comes to that. But, the Father of the Nation chose a path of peace. And we all know that is never a hollow virtue.

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Deshawn Swasey

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