Hurricane Lisa expected to make landfall in Belize today as a strong category one storm.
Belize declared a state of hurricane emergency yesterday as Hurricane Lisa approaches. The storm, described by Prime Minister Johnny Briceño in an address to the nation last night, will hit Belize as a “strong Category 1 or minimum Category 2 hurricane.”
Since Briceño’s address, experts no longer expect Hurricane Lisa to reach Category 2 status, but rather to remain a strong Cat 1.
As Briceño spoke last night, Lisa was at tropical storm status, moving towards Belize at around 15 miles per hour. It’s expected the storm will hit the mainland of Belize between Belize City and Dangriga sometime in the late afternoon or early evening.
The storm will pass through Belize, across northern Guatemala, and into Mexico over the coming days. Widespread rain and flooding will affect all three countries.
My fellow Belizeans 🇧🇿
Please click and listen. Let us take heed. Let us look out for each other. Let us move early as is necessary. We can protect lives if we act early and wisely.
I pray God’s protection on us all and our beloved Belize.https://t.co/iiEVFkG5iZ
— John Briceño (@JohnBricenoBZE) November 2, 2022
Airports, seaports, and public transport to close down
Briceño said that anyone feeling their home was unsafe should move to a safe place. Municipalities around Belize opened shelters last night to take in anyone unable to find refuge from the storm with relatives or friends.
The international airport closed last night, and today seaports also shut down. Public transport in Belize will halt operations today at midday. Belizean media reported long lines of people trying to get the last boats back to Belize City from the islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker.
“Searсh and reѕсuе аgеnсіеѕ аrе rеаdу, and оur dосtоrѕ and nurses аrе fullу equipped and ѕuррlіеd tо attend tо the nееdѕ оf those who rеmаіn іn the hospitals, оr who wіll nееd emergency assistance,” said the Prime Minister.
He urged Belizeans to stay in a safe place and “out of harm’s way until the official all-clear is declared.”
#TropicalStormLisa: This is the line to get on the last passenger boat from San Pedro to Belize City pic.twitter.com/hZxAQ6iYTS
— Love FM Belize (@lovefmbz) November 1, 2022
If you have to go out…
This morning, the government reiterated the importance of staying in and sheltering, but urged anyone needing to travel for essential reasons – like getting to a shelter to remember the following:
- Check your vehicle properly to ensure it is roadworthy
- Be courteous to other road users; they too want to get to their shelter safely
- Comply with the speed limit of 55 miles per hour
- Reduce your speed if the road is wet or visibility is poor
- Ensure that all are buckled up
- Don’t be distracted
Heavy rain, high tides, and storm surges combine
The Mayor of Belize City, Bernard Wagner, also spoke last night, with essentially the same message, telling people to expect at least eight to twelve inches of rain in a very short time with a storm surge of four to six feet. This will be compounded, said Wagner, by a high tide at around 6:00 PM, which is around the time Lisa should make landfall.
“In light of that, I would like to urge all City residents to evacuate where necessary and make use of various shelter made available,” said Wagner.
Anyone in Belize right now should follow the directions and advice of NEMO (National Emergency Management Organization”) and the National Met Service.
Hurricane Lisa is the sixth named storm of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane season, and the second of the season to hit Central America.