Belize’s Natural Buffer Against Hurricanes

(openPR) – Placencia, Belize – Kanantik Reef and Jungle Resort in Belize (kanantik.com) is pleased to announce that the back to back hurricanes of Dean and Felix will cause no disruptions to the upcoming peak tourist season. Roberto Fabbri, managing director and owner of Kanantik Reef and Jungle Resort suggested that once again the country of Belize was spared more serious damage from Hurricanes Dean and Felix because of the natural defenses that Belize has, namely its coastal mangroves and great barrier reef.

“Outside of the typical debris cleanup that is experienced from any large tropical storm, the integrity of Kanantik Reef and Jungle Resort came through unscathed and the 2007 fall tourist season will proceed the same it does every year,” said Roberto Fabbri.

After dodging some record-setting storms, coastal resorts and businesses throughout the Central American country of Belize continue to hope for the best.

Two powerful hurricanes made history as the first Category 5 Atlantic storms to make landfall in the same season. First, Dean raced ashore in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula to the north of Belize in late August. Almost exactly two weeks later, Felix arrived to the south along Nicaragua’s Miskito Coast. Remarkably, both largely spared Belize’s rapidly growing tourism industry.

Hurricane experts emphasize that early warnings and preparations are key for minimizing damages and casualties from any hurricane, but south-central Belize in particular seems to have escaped the wrath of hurricanes better than other prime vacation destinations.

Dean brought heavy rains, moderate waves and minor flooding to the Belize coast and the government reported power outages, downed trees and damaged roofs in the northernmost Corozal District. Likewise, Felix brought local flooding to the extreme south. Even so, the rest of the Central American nation reported little or no damage and tourist hotspots quickly reopened.

“We are grateful that Belize was relatively unscathed by Hurricane Dean,” Director of Tourism Tracy Panton said in a statement on an emergency information Web site run by the Belize Tourism Board (belizeemergency.net). “With no major damages, most of the country’s hotels and attractions are welcoming guests merely one day after the hurricane passed.”

Roberto Fabbri, of Kanantik Reef & Jungle Resort in southern Belize’s Stann Creek District, said his resort felt no major impacts from either hurricane and has fared well in other recent storms. Fabbri remembers cleaning up downed trees and power lines after Hurricane Iris roared ashore in 2001, but even then the new eco-resort’s buildings suffered little damage. “We have been extremely lucky because Iris destroyed a banana plantation just 2 miles from us,” Fabbri said of Iris’s impact.

Since Hurricane Hattie in 1961, though, the whole country and especially its southern coast have fared unexpectedly well. Like that famous real estate adage, a big reason why may be relatively simple: location, location, location. Atlantic storms tracked by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center reveal that since record-keeping began, the majority of tropical storms and hurricanes have veered well to the north.

Southern Belize’s miles of undeveloped mangrove wetlands and shoreline also can limit a storm’s power by absorbing the impact of high winds and waves. That buffering power may be one reason why the Belizean resort of Kanantik and its surrounding 300 acres of undisturbed land weren’t damaged as much as other neighboring properties after Iris in 2001.

According to the Belize Hurricane Net (ambergriscaye.com/hurricane), the Western Hemisphere’s longest barrier reef is yet another factor, making it far more than an underwater wonderland and world-class diving destination. “Our reef saves us from utter devastation in big storms and, unlike practically any artificial arrangement, it isn’t going to be undercut and washed away,” writes the site’s administrator. “Most of the wave force slams into it and goes straight up in the air. Sixty feet or more sometimes.”

High tides can breech that barrier, but hurricane records confirm that direct hits on Belize and their associated storm surges have been a relative rarity in recent years. In fact, the entire Caribbean nation has seen only five hits within the past 40 years – making it the envy of most other countries in the Caribbean, not to mention much of the southeastern United States.

Meanwhile the residents and resort owners of Belize watch and hope that their natural treasures as well as protectors, the barrier reef and miles of mangrove wetlands continue to temper the powerful forces of any hurricane that might find the country of Belize in its path.

2 Responses to “Belize’s Natural Buffer Against Hurricanes”

  1. [...] Belize’s Natural Buffer Against Hurricanes(openPR) – Placencia, Belize – Kanantik Reef and Jungle Resort in Belize (kanantik.com) is pleased to announce that the back to back hurricanes of Dean and Felix will cause no disruptions to the upcoming peak tourist season. … [...]

  2. [...] Belize’s Natural Buffer Against Hurricanes(openPR) – Placencia, Belize – Kanantik Reef and Jungle Resort in Belize (kanantik.com) is pleased to announce that the back to back hurricanes of Dean and Felix will cause no disruptions to the upcoming peak tourist season. … [...]

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