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17 Nov 2020 | 12:16 PM UTC

Flood warnings and watches in effect due to Hurricane Iota November 16

Meteorological service issues flood warnings and watches due to affects of Hurricane Iota November 16; monitor weather updates and follow authority directives

environment
transportation
BLZ

Event

On Monday, November 16, the National Meteorological Service of Belize issued a flood warning for communities in Belize district due to the danger of rising river levels as Hurricane Iota strikes the region. Flood watches are also in place across Belize, Cayo, Stann Creek, and Toledo districts over the coming days due to the potential for further rainfall associated with the weather system in the coming days. Iota struck northeastern Nicaragua late on Monday and has since started to weaken. It is expected to dissipate close to El Salvador on Wednesday, November 18, but will still cause hazardous weather conditions for much of Central America over the next few days. Between 250 mm to 500 mm (10 to 20 in) of rainfall is forecast across southern Belize. Floodwaters in some areas are only just beginning to recede from the flooding caused by Storm Eta at the beginning of the month.

Flooding is possible particularly in some riverine areas over the coming days and landslides are may occur in mountainous parts of the country. Associated disruptions to transport, businesses, and utilities are likely in affected areas. Rough seas are forecast and could pose a threat to maritime operations.

Context

The country's rainy season occurs between June and November, which is also roughly the same period of time that corresponds to the Atlantic hurricane season; organized tropical activity tends to peak in August and September. Storms tend to flood sections of highways and cause dirt-based roads to become temporarily impassable. More organized systems, depending on intensity, can prove catastrophic in terms of tidal surge, wind damage, flooding, and mudslides.

Advice

Those in affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, including evacuation orders. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.

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