Belmopan, Jul 16, 2005 (NEMO) -
Extremely Dangerous Category 4 Hurricane Emily Strengthens Further as it
passes South of Jamaica
At midday the Government of Belize declared Phase 2 or Red 1 of the Hurricane Emergency Plan for northern Belize. It covers that area north of a line extending westward from Caye Cauker to Lucky Strike and Crooked Tree in the Belize District and San Felipe and Blue Creek in the Orange Walk District. This includes San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and the entire Corozal District.
Residents living in this area are advised to prepare for tropical storm conditions, that is, winds of 39 to 73 miles per hour.
The tropical storm watch for the coast of Belize from Belize City north to the Belize/Mexico border remains in effect. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm force conditions are possible within the watch area within the next 36 hours.
At midday the centre of Hurricane Emily was located near latitude 16.4 degrees north and longitude 78.0 degrees west. This position is 717 miles east of Punta Gorda, 680 miles east by south of Belize City and 668 miles east by south of San Pedro, Ambergris.
Emily is moving toward the west north-west at 18 miles per hour and this general motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours. At this rate tropical storm force winds could begin affecting San Pedro at midday on Sunday and spread across northern Belize by 6:00 PM. Conditions would improve across Belize by mid-afternoon Monday.
Maximum sustained winds are estimated at 155 mph making Emily a strong Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Hurricane force winds extend outward 70 miles from the centre and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 150 miles from the centre.
Hurricane conditions are not expected to affect Belize, but tropical storm force winds could affect northern Belize. As Emily gets closer to Belize, the area under tropical storm watch could be reduced. Nevertheless, residents living in the watch area are advised to make preparations for tropical storm conditions.