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As anyone living in Belize will tell anyone contemplating travel to the land by the Craibe Sea, July represents the third month of the annual hurricane season. From May 15 through November 30 each year, the likelihood of a hurricane forming is at its highest level. In May, a tropical cyclone formed in the Pacific and was later upgraded to become the seasons first hurricane, Hurricane Adrian. By the time it made landfall in El Salvador is was downgraded but still had devastating effects for many in its path.

According to the National Hurricane Center the lack of awareness and preparation are the "common threads among all major hurricane disasters". The NHC advises that by understanding what actions to take, those caught in the path of an oncoming hurricane can greatly increase their chances of survival. Although the hurricane itself poises great risk, storm surge, high winds, tornadoes and flooding are also major hazards one must be ready to contend with, to survive a major hurricane.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Damage Potential Scale rates a hurricane on a one to five rating system.

wind speed in miles per hour
storm surge in feet
74 to 95
4 to 5
96 to 110
6 to 8
111 to 130
9 to 12
131 to 155
13 to 18
155 and above
18 and more

The history of Belize has been a story of hurricanes over the years. In 1931 Belize City was destroyed and over one thousand people are reported to have been killed. It was a primary reason the capital was moved inland to its current location in Belmopan.

In 2000, Hurricane Keith battered Belize between September 30th and October 3rd. Most of the damage was dealt to Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. Then on October 8, 2001, as the world focused it's attention to the attacks on Newy York City, Washington and Pennsylvania in the USA, Belize had to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Iris. Iris was a category 4 hurricane that came ashore packing winds in excess of 145 miles per hour and a storm surge of over 18 feet. When the storm departed, Placencia Village and Monkey River Town lay in ruin. The dive boat Wave Dancer was flipped over and more than fifteen divers from Richmond, Virginia, perished. (see Edition 04 of

Further south in the Maya villages of the Toledo District, the inhabitants too were in dire straits. A report by reflects that 204 houses in the village of San Pedro Columbia were completely destroyed. Six of the 56 schools in the Toledo District were destroyed. The villages of Indian Creek, the Dump, San Marcos and Laguna sustained major damage. The villages of Big Falls and Silver Creek were nearly flattened. In all, some 10,000 people in the Toledo District were left homeless.

All said, when it comes to Belize and her history of dealing with hurricanes, it becomes obvious that she and her people are resilient. Time and time again the people of Belize have been knocked to their knees, only to rise up from the ruble to stand tall for another day.

A hurricane up close.
This is a photo of hurricane Isabel that came ashore at the Outer Banks of North Carolina in September of 2003.
Please use the links below for current weather conditions in Belize:
CNN weather
Belize Times Weather
BBC weather
The Weather Network
Accu Weather
Earth Watch
National Hurricane Center
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