Map from Weather Underground
Yesterday Hurricane Felix (Huracán Félix in Spanish) was declared a Category 5 hurricane. It currently has winds of 160 miles per hour (260 km. per hour) gusting to 200 mph (325 km. per hour).
As of Monday morning, Felix is predicted to hit the northeast coast of Honduras around 8 a.m. Tuesday, September 4, and the Trujillo area around 8 p.m.
According to the current prediction models, it should be somewhere north, south, or IN La Ceiba late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. (La Ceiba is marked with a red x on the map above.)
Click on any of these maps to enlarge them. For more current information, check the weather links below.
This is from the latest National Hurricane Center advisory:
HURRICANE FELIX ADVISORY NUMBER 13Believe me, opening my email and reading about "catastrophic" hurricanes every few hours is more than a little disconcerting − especially for someone who has never been anywhere near a hurricane before.
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL062007
1100 AM EDT MON SEP 03 2007
...Felix continues to move rapidly westward and remains a potentially catastrophic hurricane...
At 11 am EDT...The government of Nicaragua has issued a hurricane warning for Nicaragua from Puerto Cabezas northward to the Honduras/Nicaragua border. A hurricane warning is also in effect 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.
We also received a warning from the US Embassy in Honduras last night. It didn't say much new other than to monitor local and international media reports, make preparations, follow the instructions of local emergency personal, etc.
The warning message included this information, which I'll pass along in case anyone needs to try to find out about US citizens in the aftermath.
The Embassy can be reached during its regular business hours (M-F, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) by telephone at (504)238-5114; by fax at (504) 238-4357; and by email at email@example.com. After hours, a duty officer can be reached by calling the Embassy's main number.
COPECO (the Honduran Comision Permanente de Contingencias) has declared an Alerta Roja (red alert) for the Islas de la Bahía (click to enlarge map) and an Alerta Amarilla (yellow alert) in the departmentos (states) of Gracias a Dios, Colón, Atlántida, Yoro, Cortés, and Olancho. These are the four states on the north coast, the large orangish state in the east and the yellow state west of it.
Copeco has activated its local emergency committees and is preparing shelters, food, and supplies. A Copeco official stated that Felix is following the path of Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which was devastating to Honduras. For updated information from COPECO, including the national alerts from the Honduran government, go to their website.
This message came through on the Roatan group from Manuel Serrano of the Roatán Island Municipalidad:
AS OF NOW THERE IS A MANDATORY AND OBLIGATORY EVACUATION OF PEOPLE TO LEAVE THE BAY ISLANDS BECAUSE OF THE TRACK AND CATEGORY 5 FIVE HURRICANE FELIX THAT WILL AFFECT THE ISLANDS ON TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY.
ALL HOTELS OWNERS HAVE TO FIND THE WAY TO EVACUATE ALL THERE GUESTS AND PEOPLE THAT ARE VISITING OR THAT HAVE FAMILY THAT CAN GIVE THEM SHELTER OFF THE ISLANDS SHOULD EVACUATE.
I haven't heard any other mention of evacuating the Bay Islands so I don't know if this is official. I just spoke with someone on the island of Utila and they are battening down but don't plan to evacuate. The newspaper reported a similar situation on the island of Guanaja, the easternmost island. Power is out on Roatán and some of the phone lines are not working, but that is unrelated to the storm.
That is all that I know right now. We will be buying a few things to tide us over if need be and doing some preparations. El Jefe is in town right now and says that everyone is a little panicky.
He has invited his family to come stay with us because they all live much closer to the ocean. One of his brothers and his family live only a block away from the sea. I am going through a real cultural difference crisis right now which I will have to tell you about later.
If you have family or friends in Honduras, remember that the phones lines will probably be overloaded so it might be difficult or impossible to get through, even if the hurricane doesn't slam Honduras. Our power situation here is precarious with even small rain storms causing power outages which will affect internet communications as well. So, don't assume the worst if you can't get through.
Between my bad internet connection and being a tad busy right now, I don't know when I'll be able to update again, but I will as soon as I can. I tried to post an update last night and my connection just wouldn't allow it.
The strength of the hurricane and projected path change hour by hour. In the meantime, to keep up-to-date on Hurricane Felix information, these are some of the sites that I like:
National Hurricane Center sign up for public advisory notices here
Crown Weather compiles hurricane information from many sites
The Weather channel on TV has good information also. Although we don't normally receive the Weather channel on cable, they do substitute it for another channel during times of extreme weather. For those in the La Ceiba area, Televicab airs the Weather channel on channel 15. I don't know if the other cable company does that.
The bad part is that if we lose power, we won't have access to any of this information.
Update, noon Monday: Just as I was about to post this, new information came from the NHC stating that Felix shows signs of weakening and has been downgraded to a Category 4. However, they warn, "Fluctuations in intensity are common in major hurricanes...And Felix could restrengthen later today or tonight."