Photo: San Ignacio’s low-lying bridge under flood water
Weekend rainfall leads to floods and class suspension throughout Belize
by Kristen Ku
BELIZE CITY, Mon. Nov. 6, 2023
Belize is currently experiencing significant weather challenges as a result of a tropical disturbance that passed over the region over the weekend, leading to substantial flooding and the suspension of classes throughout the country.
As the country readies itself for more showers, the National Meteorological Service of Belize, under the guidance of Chief Meteorologist, Ronald Gordon, has been closely monitoring the situation. Current radar and satellite imagery indicate a persistent downpour with a forecast of an additional 6 inches of rainfall over the next two days, mainly targeting the central and southern regions.
The Belize and Stann Creek districts, already drenched with rainfall since Friday, November 3, are facing an increased risk of flooding.
The unwelcomed weather is a remnant of a broad area of low pressure that passed over Central America during the weekend, leaving behind a moist northeasterly airflow that activated further showers and thunderstorms.
This system, initially having a high possibility of escalating into a tropical depression, has now dissipated. However, its impact is far-reaching, causing river levels to rise and communities to remain on high alert.
In an interview with AMANDALA, Ronald Gordon explained. “We are experiencing moist and unstable conditions … That system has now dissipated. However, we do have a moist northeasterly airflow in the wake of that system.”
With the threat of intense rainfall, lightning and gusty winds, a small craft caution remains in effect for coastal waters. Notably, a cold front is not expected.
Currently, multiple regions throughout the country have already been inundated with water, including the areas along the Macal River, the Mopan River, the Baking Pot and Xunantunich ferries, and the Iguana Creek bridge in the Cayo District.
In the Belize District, both in rural communities and the city itself, roads and yards have been covered in water, making it hard for residents, especially children, to commute.
In response to the flooding, and under the advice of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and the National Meteorological Service, the Ministry of Education had issued a public notice on November 5, indicating the suspension of face-to-face classes for all levels in the districts of Cayo, Belize, Corozal, Orange Walk, and Stann Creek.
However, as the rains and flooding persisted, the Ministry further announced the suspension of face-to-face classes for all levels countrywide for November 7.
NEMO has since urged that residents near flood-prone areas continue to stay alert as the showers continue into Wednesday, November 8, with skies forecasted to clear by Thursday.