Sections of Belize have been brought to a standstill as heavy rains and flash flooding continue to sweep across the Central American country on Thursday (June 18).
The entire country is covered by a mass of unstable weather, which has persisted for at least three days, according to the latest forecast from the Belize Meteorological Service.
The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) has issued a flash flood warning for low-lying, flood-prone areas as well as the country at large and advised Belizeans to avoid travel outright until the situation improves.
NEMO, in a statement, said that the public should “not travel on many secondary roads in the rural areas, and in particular, on two of our major highways, due to the road approach near Mile 38 ½ on the George Price Highway between Belize City and Belmopan, and on the Hummingbird Highway between Dangriga and Belmopan”.
The Dangriga-Belmopan leg of the Hummingbird Highway has been extensively damaged, with culverts uprooted as well as buckled and flooded roadways.
Local reports have noted rising water levels at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, with one ward being flooded.
“If you do not absolutely need to travel, STAY HOME as only emergency (life-saving) travel is recommended. All are advised not to cross flooded rivers and creeks. If where you are is not safe, move to higher ground” NEMO added.
Additionally, the Belize Met Service indicated that the small craft warning remains in effect for coastal waters of the country.
The agency noted that there is the possibility of localised flooding over low-lying and flood-prone areas. Increasing river levels are expected in the Rio Hondo and New River.
“There is a flood alert for watersheds on the eastern slopes of the Maya Mountains,” NEMO said.
Forecasters anticipate more rains for Belize this weekend, with some projections seeing the country being affected into Tuesday, June 23.
For today, however, the Belize Met Service noted that conditions will remain cloudy with some showers, thunderstorms and periods of rain across the country, especially over the central and northern areas.
The turbulent weather is expected to decrease by this afternoon, with a few showers and thunderstorms to redevelop, mainly over the south, tonight.
There have been no reports of deaths or missing persons at this time.