Hurricanes are extremely important to Belize. Belezean hurricanes

They are capable of taking lives, destroying infrastructure, and damaging the economy for extended periods. Be prepared

The effects of climate warming will be to increase storm strengths in general. However, the effect of global warming on hurricane frequency and intensity is still unknown. The number and strength of hurricanes in the Atlantic has been declining over the last few years. Global patterns in hurricanes

What is a hurricane

A hurricane is a rotating tropical weather system with average winds above 74 mph. A tropical depression has wind below 39 mph, and a tropical storm winds from 39-74 mph.

Tropical rotating wind systems are called hurricanes in the Atlantic, typhoons in Asia, and cyclones in the Pacific. In the southern hemissphere there storms rotate clockwise and in the northern hemisphere rotate clockwise.

Hurricanes are nearly circular storms 200-600 km across and about 15 km high. A typical tropical cyclone will have an eye of approximately 30–65 km (20–40 mi) across.

Hurricane categories

Hurricane are categorised from wind speeds of; 1 (74-95 mph), 2 (96-110 mph), 3 (111-130 mph), 4 (131-155 mph), and 5 (greater than 155 mph).


Wind kph/mph

Surge meters/feet

Building Damage

1 74-95 /4-5 feet Damage to roofs, siding and gutters. Large branches of trees broken and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Damage to power lines will likely result in power outages.
2 96-110 /6-9 Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted. Roads blocked. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
3 111-130 /9-12 Major damage through removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for weeks.
4 131-155 /13-18 Homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
5 >155 />18 Framed homes destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. Great video of damage by different hurricane categories.

The effects of hurricane are mainly from the storm surge, wind, flooding, tornadoes, and . The storm surge of hurricanes is mainly in the eye and on the right side with the highest coastal winds as the hurricane travels forward.

Tropical cyclones rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere (Atlantic Ocean and Asia) and clockwise in the Pacific (southern hemisphere).

The highest coastal winds are on the right side because the hurricane rotates counter clockwise. ie. from east to west on the right side. This means that the wind hits the coast without crossing land over a long stretch of water.

Hurricane Ernisto


Hurrcane Ernisto, August, 2012, with Sarteneja, on the north west coast of Belize, just at the lower edge of the grey eye.

North of the eye the winds are easterly, south of the eye winds are westerly, inland from the eye winds are northerly. As the hurricane moves inland the direction of the wind changes dependent on a location and the landfall of the hurricane.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th, and the Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15th to November 30th. The Atlantic basin includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.

August, September, and October are the main hurricane months.

About hurricanes