What Happened?


The Hurricane

On Monday, October 8, 2001, Hurricane Iris made landfall in the southern part of the Stann Creek District and moved onward to the Toledo District of Belize.

All hurricanes are dangerous, but some are much more so than others. The way storm surge, winds, and other factors combine determines a hurricane's destructive power. NOAA's hurricane forecasters use a disaster scale which assigns storms a number from one to five indicating severity. Hurricane Iris was a category four.

To compare this storm to one to which US residents can relate, Iris's winds were higher than Hurricane Andrew of 1992 - the most vicious storm to ever besiege mainland US. For Belizeans - Hurricane Keith (October 2000), was a category one hurricane when the center crossed Ambergris Cay, and a tropical storm by the time it reached the Belize mainland. There are differences. Unlike Hurricane Keith, Iris moved swiftly, and unlike Andrew, it's storm area was relatively small. However, the damage as a result of this storm will be felt for years to come.

The Hurricane's path included coastal areas of Placencia, Monkey River and Seine Beight in Southern Stann Creek District. While substantial damage was made to these villages, the hurricane knocked up against the Maya Mountains of the Toledo District before venturing farther west. Maya villages along the Southern Highway and the western part of Toledo were destroyed by five hours of constant winds reported to be 145 mph., with gusts much greater than that number.


NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
HURRICANE IRIS ADVISORY 17A

8 PM EDT MON OCT 08 2001

LANDFALL OF EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE
IRIS ONLY HOURS AWAY

PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY IN THE HURRICANE WARNING AREA SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMPLETED.

AT 8 PM EDT. . .
IRIS IS MOVING JUST SOUTH OF DUE WEST NEAR 22 MPH. ON THE PROJECTED TRACK...THE CENTER IS EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL ON THE COAST OF BELIZE IN THE NEXT SEVERAL HOURS.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 145 MPH...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN INTENSITY ARE POSSIBLE PRIOR TO LANDFALL...BUT IRIS IS LIKELY TO MAKE LANDFALL AS A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE. HIGHER WINDS MAY OCCUR OVER ELEVATED TERRAIN AS IRIS MOVES INLAND.

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