Belize has been experiencing a very wet cold front in the last couple of days. The constant rains have caused the usual flooding of low lying areas in various parts of the old capital and other municipalities around the country, such as Hope Creek. According to acting Chief Meteorologist Ramon Frutos, the light rain has been concentrated over central and northern Belize, where some rainfall averages have been surpassed, while in south, the levels are more or less average for the month of January. Frutos says that wet conditions can be blamed on a La Niña event.
Ramon Frutos, Acting Chief Meteorologist
“It’s not very unusual for Januarys to be wet. This is, as I was mentioning, this is indicative of something happening in the atmosphere. And what is actually happening is that we are having a cool event of the ensophils in the Pacific Ocean; that is called a La Niña, what we have been noticing over the past 3 to 4 months is a cooling of the sea surface temperature in the central and eastern of the Pacific. That has some interaction or some effects on the circulation over Central America, over the Gulf and over the southern part of the United States. Usually when you have a La Niña it tends to produce wet conditions over the Golf Course of the United States, from Texas right through to Florida. Some of that moisture and some of that activity comes our way; comes across the Gulf and eventually as the cool air passes over the north it picks up more moisture and that ends up over us.”
“The models are indicating that we should see a reduction in the rains later on Sunday over most areas of the country. The winds will be turning to the northeast and maybe the east. But then we go right back into a north or a northwest flow. That means we’ll have another influx of cool air coming from the Gulf of Mexico and the Southern United States because of another cold front event leading into that area. It’s another high developing over the United States and pushing cooler air into the Gulf and into the northern parts of Central America and north western Caribbean. So the cool weather should be with us for the next week or so.”
“Belizeans living in low lying areas and those that are getting a lot of rain and will continue getting rain, especially in Central and Northern Belize, should continue to monitor water levels in their vicinity. As I mentioned, the Sittee river is on the rise, and also the Sibun. We don’t expect, for example the Sibun, to produce extensive flooding because the rain in this area do not contribute — it’s not intense enough to contribute to widespread flooding. The Sittee River, that’s a flash flood river, that’s a very flashy river. So with the kind of rain we’re getting in the Stann Creek Valley it’s possible that that will continue to rise tonight and people using that pass at the Kendal pass should be cautious, should continue to monitor the river in that area and also the people who are living in that vicinity, because you know we have a lot of people living in that area and we also have a lot of people travelling down the Southern Highway.”
According to Frutos the La Niña typically means that Central America will get drought conditions in the coming weeks.