Thursday, February 5, 2009

High Winds in Guatemala

High winds throughout Guatemala caused damage to roofs and the power grid, and swept away trees, signs and poles. According to the Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH), this phenomenon is due to a high pressure system that was reinforced by another that occurred on the Yucatan Peninsula. These weather conditions will remain until Friday afternoon and the wind will return to normal on Saturday.

The gusts reached 100 kmh in Santa Catarina and Ixtahuacán Nahualá in Sololá. Low temperatures and strong winds put all public services on alert status to assist the population affected.

In Escuintla, power lines were downed and some fences located on the highway were weakened.

The National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred) alerted the Departmental Directorate of Education to consider suspending classes. In Jutiapa, the Departmental Directorate suspended activities in 25 schools because the strong winds pose a risk to minors. This phenomenon has also affected maize crops

In Sacatepéquez, neighbors reported that electrical service had been out since the morning.

The temperature in Huehuetenango reached four degrees C below zero, although in the high mountains of Concepción Huista or Todos Santos Cuchumatánes it was even lower.

In the village of Chuscusito in Salamá, Baja Verapaz, the roof of the local school was damaged. In Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu, Zacapa, Izabal, Escuintla, Santa Rosa several houses were damaged.

At least 10 traffic accidents were caused by trees, poles, and billboards that collapsed.

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