Posted: Monday, October 31, 2022. 1:29 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Barring an absolute miracle, Tropical Storm (potentially Hurricane) Lisa will become the fourth November storm to make landfall on Belize in its history of encounters with tropical cyclones.
Today, October 31, is of course the 61st anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Hattie in Belize City, but Chief Meteorologist Ronald Gordon informed a press briefing this morning that according to his research, there have previously been three other storms to hit Belize in November: “One of them was Laura in 1971 – I think that was a tropical storm, and there was a system in 1931 before we had names for hurricanes that made landfall; and there is another one way back in the [1800s] that made landfall in November, but as you rightly alluded to, they are very rare.” The 1931 storm would be the second to make landfall that year following the infamous September 10 hurricane that killed thousands.
The Washington Post notes that “In an average Atlantic hurricane season, only 5 or 6 percent of a season’s activity falls after October 31.”
As for what Lisa, the season’s 12th named storm, may bring to Belize, Gordon noted that the system is presently being affected by vertical wind shear, moving most of the heavy thunderstorms to its east and northeast and having dry air to its west, keeping Belize’s weather fair at the moment. However, he said, conditions are expected to allow for its strengthening to stronger tropical storm status or a Category 1 hurricane with top speeds of 74 to 95 miles per hour. It is presently moving west at 14 miles per hour and is expected to take a west-to-west-northwest track.
Belize as previously reported can expect heavy rainfall, saturating the ground further; coastal flooding as well as in low-lying and flood-prone areas, with a storm surge of three to five feet mostly to the north of the system.
As for sites of landfall, the Met Service said it is too early to make such a prediction; they will have a clearer indication by Tuesday. As the cone of potential landfall narrows, some areas will be moved out but residents should not take that as an indication that they will not feel some effects – as they will.
Gordon ruled out neither rapid intensification of the type seen recently with Hurricane Ian in Florida, nor the high-pressure system located north of the storm at present continuing to depress it closer to Honduras, but Belizeans either way must be prepared.
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