Belmopan - 15 July, 2005.
On the advice of the Chief Meteorologist and the National Emergency Management Organization, the Prime Minister Hon. Said Musa has declared the preliminary phase of Belize's hurricane plan to take effect as at 6:00 p.m. today (Friday, July 15, 2005) as Hurricane Emily moves slowly westward in the Caribbean Sea toward the Yucatan Peninsula.
At 3:00 p.m. today, the center of Hurricane Emily was located near 14.7 degrees north latitude and 72.8 degrees west longitude, or just over a thousand miles east south east of Belize City. Emily is moving toward the west at 20 miles per hour.
This is a relatively fast movement, and consequently, NEMO's advisory committee, at a meeting held this afternoon, decided to advise the Prime Minister that the Preliminary Phase of the national Hurricane Plan be declared as a precautionary measure. This declaration will allow residents, particularly those living in the offshore islands and the coastal areas of Belize, at least forty-eight hours to prepare for hurricane conditions if it becomes necessary.
Emily weakened during the day and maximum sustained winds are now 105 miles per hour. However, as it moves toward the western Caribbean, it will intensify and could attain Category Three or Four status again.
Residents on the offshore islands are advised that as Hurricane Emily moves toward Belize they could begin to experience tropical storm force winds on Sunday morning; therefore, they should plan to move to the mainland on Saturday.
Residents on the mainland should begin to take precautionary measures and be prepared to take further action if a hurricane watch is declared for portions of the country. This could occur as early as tomorrow, Saturday.
All operational committees of NEMO have been activated and are in a state of readiness to take the necessary preparatory measures.
JULY 15, 2005.