Hurricane Richard hit central Belize yesterday afternoon as a Category 1 storm, making landfall about 20 miles south of Belize City with 90 mph winds. The strongest winds were confined to a 30 mile radius from the storm’s center, so very few areas sustained damage according to preliminary reports.
We are happy to report that everyone we know in Belize is fine. Our island base at Glover’s Reef was evacuated on Saturday, and since the storm passed 40-50 miles north of there we know from past storm experience that the island probably did not receive much in the way of wind damage, but a storm surge and high surf probably eroded a little more of the east side of the island and damaged our docks. Our friends at the dive shop will be going back out today and we’ll know more details soon.
In contrast, on October 28, 1998, Hurricane Mitch arrived near the Bay Islands of Honduras and ultimately eroded at least 50 feet of our shore. This Category 5 storm sat and churned over Guanaja for 4 days, sending huge waves our way. Although it never hit Belize, the force of this large, sustained surf (2 full days) did great damage to the islands at Glover’s Reef. We were able to clean up and open on time that season by hiring 30 men who worked at a frenetic pace for 5 weeks!
We will be posting updates as we receive them, stay tuned!