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As hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated parts the Gulf Coast states of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi and the city of New Orleans, Belize has so far escaped the 2005 hurricane season unscathed. However, traditionally the hurricanes that have plagued Belize in the past have appeared in the later part of the season.

According to the August 2005 report by the Belize National Meteorological Service, in the past 115 years of recorded history, Belize has been hit by twenty hurricanes. That equates to an average of one hurricane every 5 3/4 years.

Of those twenty hurricanes, nie were in the month of September, eight were in the month of October and one occurred in the month of November. Of the combined fifty-one hurricanes and tropical storms, 37% took place in the month of September, 27% in the month of October, and 6% in the month of November. The likelihood of a hurricane hitting Belize in any given year is 17% , compared to 68% for the state of Florida. Between the horrific unamed hurricane of 1931 that leveled Belize City killing an estimated 3,000 people forcing the country to move the capital to it's current location in Belmopan and the last major hurricane, Hurricane Iris that killed some 21 people in October 2001, some 3500 people in all have lost their lives to major storms in Belize.

Until the end of the current hurricane season in November that is on par to being the most destructive season on record and surpassing the 1933 season with it's 21 major tropical storms and hurricanes, Belize and her citizens need to watch the weather day in and day out. With nineteen reported tropical storms and hurricanes so far this year, as the statistics reflect, Belize madeit through the dangerous storm month of September, let's hope we can say the samefor the months of October and November.

Belize since 1889
In the past 115 years since weather records in Belize were formally maintained, Belize has seen the following storms make landfall:
20 hurricanes -- average of 1 hurricane every 5 ¾ years
31 tropical storms – average of 1 tropical storm every 3 ¾ years
51 total hurricanes and tropical storms – average of 1 hurricane/storm every 2 ¼ years

Of the 20 hurricanes:

  • 9 or 45% were in September
  • 8 or 40% were in October
  • 2 or 10% were in July
  • 1 or 5% was in November
  • 0 or 0% in June and August

Of the 51 total hurricanes and tropical storms:

  • 7 or 14% were in June
  • 4 or 8% were in July
  • 4 or 8% were in August
  • 19 or 37% were in September
  • 14 or 27% were in October
  • 3 or 6% were in November

Odds of hurricane:

  • Odds of a hurricane in Belize in a given year: 17%
  • Odds of a hurricane in Florida in a given year: 68%
  • Odds of a hurricane on the U.S. Gulf Coast in a given year: 67%
  • Odds of a hurricane on the U.S. East Coast in a given year: 47%

Note, however, that the length of the coast in Belize (less than 200 miles) is much smaller than the length of the coasts of Florida, the Gulf Coast and the East Coast – for example the East Coast of the U.S. is 1860 miles in length, so it offers a much greater area for storms to strike

Most powerful storms to hit Belize:
  • Unnamed hurricane, September 9, 1931, Belize City and Northern Cayes, 110 mph, estimated 2,500-3,000 deaths
  • Hurricane Janet, September 28, 1955, Northern Belize, 165 mph, 16 deaths in Belize
  • Hurricane Hattie, October 31, 1961, Belize City, 140 mph, estimated 225-310 deaths in Belize
  • Hurricane Carmen, September 2, 1974, skirted Northern Belize, 120 mph
  • Hurricane Mitch, October 27, 1998, skirted Belize to the south, 155 mph
  • Hurricane Keith, October 1, 2000, Ambergris Caye 120 mph, 2 deaths in Belize
  • Hurricane Iris, October 9, 2001, Placencia & Southern Belize, 145 mph, 21 deaths in Belize

Source; Belize National Meteorological Service, NOAA and other weather records (August 25, 2005)

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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