HURRICANE FELIX: UNITED NATIONS AND BRITISH WARSHIPS PREPARE EMERGENCY RESPONSES (PG-13)

If you’re not aware of it, Hurricane Felix may have skipped the Caribbean, but right now both the Honduras and Belize in Central America are crapping white hot nickels as it looms ever nearer like watching a bullet headed for you in time-lapse…

The latest position here from Miami

000
WTNT31 KNHC 032341
TCPAT1
BULLETIN
HURRICANE FELIX INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 14A
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL062007
800 PM EDT MON SEP 03 2007

...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE FELIX APPROACHES NORTHEASTERN
NICARAGUA AND EASTERN HONDURAS...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR NICARAGUA FROM PUERTO CABEZAS
NORTHWARD TO THE HONDURAS/NICARAGUA BORDER...AND FOR HONDURAS FROM
LIMON EASTWARD TO THE HONDURAS/NICARAGUA BORDER. A HURRICANE
WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE
WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT
LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR HONDURAS WEST OF LIMON...FOR THE
CARIBBEAN COAST OF GUATEMALA...AND FOR THE ENTIRE COAST OF BELIZE.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR ISLA DE PROVIDENCIA.

AT 8 PM EDT...0000 UTC...THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CAYMAN ISLANDS HAS
DISCONTINUED THE TROPICAL STORM WATCH FOR GRAND CAYMAN.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED
BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AT 800 PM EDT...0000Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE FELIX WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 14.5 NORTH...LONGITUDE 80.2 WEST OR ABOUT 205 MILES...
325 KM...EAST OF CABO GRACIAS A DIOS ON THE NICARAGUA/HONDURAS
BORDER.

FELIX IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 18 MPH...30 KM/HR...AND THIS
MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THIS
TRACK...THE CENTER OF FELIX WILL BE NEAR THE COASTS OF EXTREME
NORTHEASTERN NICARAGUA AND EASTERN HONDURAS EARLY ON TUESDAY
MORNING.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 135 MPH...215 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. FELIX IS CURRENTLY A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE
SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. FELIX IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN A MAJOR
HURRICANE...AT LEAST CATEGORY THREE...UNTIL IT MAKES LANDFALL...AND
SOME RESTRENGTHENING IS POSSIBLE PRIOR TO LANDFALL.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 30 MILES...45 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 115
MILES...185 KM.

THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 953 MB...28.14 INCHES.

STORM SURGE FLOODING IN EXCESS OF 18 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS
ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES IS POSSIBLE IN AREAS
OF ONSHORE WINDS NEAR THE CENTER OF THE HURRICANE.

FELIX IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE 5 TO 8 INCHES OF RAIN ACROSS NORTHERN
HONDURAS AND NORTHEASTERN NICARAGUA...WITH POSSIBLE ISOLATED
MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 12 INCHES. THESE RAINS COULD PRODUCE LIFE-
THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES.

REPEATING THE 800 PM EDT POSITION...14.5 N...80.2 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST NEAR 18 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...135 MPH.
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...953 MB.

THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL
HURRICANE CENTER AT 1100 PM EDT.

All is not lost, both the UN and the UK have issued relief plans; first up is the strategy from the World Food Programme

As Hurricane Felix prepared to make landfall on the Caribbean coast of Central America, the World Food Programme announced plans to deploy emergency teams and said it had sufficient regional food stocks to feed almost 600,000 people for one month.

Not only is WFP preparing to make food stocks available from its development operations in the region, it is also making stand-by arrangements for air and overland transport as well as moving emergency staff into place. A key operational center will be in nearby El Salvador where WFP has its sub-regional logistics base as well as in Panama where its regional office is located.

Concern among WFP emergency specialists is particularly high because much of the region has already endured heavy rainfall and there are worries that some areas will suffer from widespread landslides reminiscent of when Hurricane Stan hit in 2005 and which made roads impassable and hampered aid efforts. Of equal concern is that Hurricane Felix may strike Belize City.

In order to be able to respond to humanitarian needs along the coast of Honduras and Belize, WFP is studying the possibility of using a ship to deliver emergency needs.

At the same time, staff at its country offices in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua is on stand-by for immediate deployment.

Meanwhile, WFP operations in Belize to assist about 5,000 people who lost their livelihoods are a result of Hurricane Dean two weeks ago continue. The victims, are receiving two-month rations of rice, pulses, High Energy Biscuits (HEBs), vegetable oil and salt to assist them as they rebuild their lives.

Now, here is what Great Britain is setting about for Central American assistance –

Royal Navy warship, HMS Portland, and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker, Wave Ruler are in Barbados on short port visits. The crews of the ships were recently engaged in providing assistance to Belize and the Eastern Caribbean in the wake of Hurricane Dean.

Most of their relief work was done in villages in northern Belize, which sustained the most severe damage. There, an initial party of 15 personnel was sent in to assess the situation. Once ashore they joined up with a party from the British Army Training and Support Unit based at the permanent army training centre in Belize.

The navy team included HMS Portland’s doctor who was able to conduct a clinic for Belizeans, and an electrical repair party who took generators and lights providing some power to the village. Other personnel also assisted with clearing debris and repairing roofs.

HMS Portland and RFA Wave Ruler are stationed in the Caribbean region as part of the Atlantic Patrol Task for the 2007 hurricane season, which runs from June until November, ready to respond in the event of a humanitarian crisis.

At other times units conduct Maritime Counter Narcotics operations and wider regional engagements covering the Atlantic and western Pacific.

RFA Wave Ruler leaves Barbados this Wednesday and HMS Portland is scheduled to sail on 13 September.

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