Hurricane Richard makes landfall in Belize

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Latest 5 day track for Richard
Image: NHC.
Cquote1.svg We already boarded up everything, and we already got everything, office equipment and everything, stored in a safe place. We got all the tourists out, and get the whole place secured down. Cquote2.svg

—Rafael Marin

Hurricane Richard made landfall in Belize about 20 mi (35 km) south-southeast of Belize City with winds of 90 mph (150 kph) at approximately 6:45 local time (0045 UTC) according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Richard is currently lashing the country with strong winds and heavy rain, which, officials have said, could cause life threatening floods and landslides.

Richard seven hours before landfall
Image: NASA.

Officials have revealed that 10,000 people are currently sheltering in schools and churches, while some have moved to Belmopan, as the country is battered by strong winds and heavy rains. Although tourists have been evacuated from vulnerable areas, some residents have decided to ride out the storm in their homes.

The area which Richard made landfall in is populated with neighborhoods made of wooden houses with zinc roofs. According to a clerk at a bed and breakfast, Fanny Llanos, "the winds are very strong [and are] getting stronger." She also said that palm trees were struggling in the winds and there were loud sounds all around.

It has also been reported that 3 foot (1 meter) waves were beginning to hit the docks. Local emergency officials have advised store owners not to increase prices as people tried to stock up for the impending arrival of the hurricane.

Landslides have blocked one of the countries highways in the Colon province, blocking access to 40 towns leaving 15,000 people trapped. Teams are trying to clear the highway. Residents have advised that they have taken adequate preparations for the storm with one man saying that "he expected only some beach erosion and minor damage to homes."

Full Wikinews coverage of the 2010 hurricane season


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