Double whammy: Drought parches Belize amid hotter than normal August
The first three months of the rainy season have produced very little rains, and the National Meteorological Service confirmed today that almost all of Belize has been experiencing a drought, with extreme drought conditions occurring in the Belize District due to record low rainfall at the nation’s premier port of entry, the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA).
Not only has Belize been experiencing drier than normal conditions; it has also been experiencing hotter than normal temperatures this month, according to Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Catherine Cumberbatch.
Cumberbatch told Amandala today that daily information gathered up to today, Thursday, August 28, from their network of over 20 weather stations across Belize, indicates that at all stations across the country, rainfall has been way below normal, with the exception of the extreme south, Toledo, which has been registering normal rainfall.
Cumberbatch said that at the PGIA station, rainfall has been less than 10% of the usual level, totaling 20.1 mm or less than an inch, since June—far below the normal level of 218.6 mm or 8-9 inches of rainfall.
This, said Cumberbath, is the lowest on record when compared to the historical record since Independence, 1981-2010.
The meteorological drought was due to atmospheric and oceanic conditions which moved moisture away from the area. It is a regional phenomenon, but Belize hasn’t experienced conditions as harsh as neighboring countries, she said, because the water table was still relatively high, with water having been retained in the soil due to the extra rains Belize received last year.
Cumberbatch confirmed that most of Belize has been experiencing very low rainfall levels since June, the start of the rainy season, so much so that it’s been drier than the preceding dry season, which spanned October 2013 to May 2014.
For instance, Libertad only received 3 inches of rain, but the normal rainfall for that area would be in the range of 5 to 8 inches, she said.
Cumberbatch also had good news, as she told us that with the coming tropical wave, the dryness will ease. That tropical wave is expected to affect the country over the weekend, with most of the rain being over the extreme north of the country.
She said that the new precipitation outlook, which they are about to finalize, calls for conditions to normalize in the south over the next few months, but northern Belize may remain a concern.