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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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There is the possibility that there are more challenges ahead for farmers as a drought watch is out for Belize. But Belize isn't the only country facing potential, and in some cases, serious effects of drought. The Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network which was launched in January 2009 under the Caribbean Water Initiative, CARIWIN, and which aims to increase the capacity of Caribbean countries to deliver equitable and sustainable Integrated Water resources Management, issued a drought bulletin earlier this month.

CARIWIN recommends that water conservation measures continue as much as possible, particularly across the eastern Caribbean and Jamaica, as below normal rainfall is likely across much of the region for the next three months and leading into the 2015 dry season. It also gave rainfall summary for the months of May, June and July in the eastern Caribbean.

The rainfall was recorded as normal to below normal. The bulletin details that, and we quote, "Trinidad, Tobago, St. Kitts, Anguilla, St. Maarten and St. Croix were normal; Grenada, St. Lucia and Dominica severely dry; and Barbados, St. Vincent and Antigua moderately dry. Conditions in Guyana ranged from moderately wet in the northwest to exceptionally dry in the east. Aruba was moderately dry while Puerto Rico was normal. Conditions in Jamaica ranged from normal in the west to moderately dry in the east, but Grand Cayman was abnormally dry. Conditions in Cuba ranged from severely dry in the west to normal in the east. Belize was abnormally dry in the west and moderately dry in the east," end of quote.

In the bulletin, CARIWIN also outlines the probability for impactful drought stating that it is unlikely to happen in the northern part of the Caribbean but is "increasingly likely in the south". In fact, in this month's update, the bulletin indicates that there is imminent drought over Dominica, Martinique, St. Vincent, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and northern Guyana.

Belize is highlighted in yellow and is still on a drought watch. The watch may extend into next year as according to CARIWIN, EL Nino, which is associated with a band of warm ocean water temperatures that periodically develops off the Pacific coast of South America, will manifest itself throughout the remainder of 2014, likely with less than normal rainfall during the remainder of the wet season and into the 2015 dry season. El Nino can roil agricultural markets as farmers contend with drought or too much rain.


Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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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.


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