Moon Lit Sea
Come enjoy these beautiful views on Ambergris Caye . Photo by Marlena Gomez
==================== Monthly Weather Summary, February 2021
National Meteorological Service of Belize
February marks the end of the dry transition period of the dry season for Belize. Climatologically, this month typically experiences the second highest number of cold fronts with a total of 8. Rainfall during the month is normally attributed to the passage of frontal systems that progresses southward from the continental United States, and upper and surface troughs. An average of eight cold fronts, one stationary front, one surface trough and two upper level troughs would cross Belize for the month but in February 2021, only two cold fronts with three surface troughs, three surface lows and one stationary front crossed the country. Several other frontal systems passed north of the area.
The first week in the month was relatively dry due to limited low and upper level moisture, supported by a high pressure ridge over the North Atlantic, extending into the central Caribbean basin. A cold front approached the country on February 1, crossing on February 2 with a deep upper level trough digging to the surface. This system did not produce significant convection through its passage due to limited upper level support and available moisture with only isolated showers and light rain observed over central and southern areas. Cool and variably cloudy conditions prevailed on February 3 with minimum temperatures falling significantly across the country, especially over northern and inland areas., however, no records were broken. A deep upper level trough was associated with this frontal system and persisted over the western Caribbean through to February 3, supporting a west to north-westerly wind component over Belize with an upper level ridge observed over the area on February 6. On February 7, an upper level jet over Belize supported a west to south-westerly flow. In the low levels, ridging prevailed February 3 to 6 with a surface low pressure system analyzed over the area on February 7. Surface winds were north to north-westerly February 1-3 becoming east to northeast on February 5, before a light to moderate south-easterly flow set in on February 6 and 7. The ending of the week saw little to no rainfall observed over the area, except for an isolated thunderstorm developing over the Maya mountains on February 7.
Dry conditions continued into week two due to continued dominance of the high pressure ridge over the Caribbean basin. Rainfall during this period was mostly isolated and conditions favoured fair and warm weather over the country. The upper levels were also very dry with a neutral pattern observed, supported mainly by a broad upper level ridge February 8 to 10, resulting in a west to south-westerly component. A slight trough pattern developed over the western Caribbean sea on February 10 supporting a north to north-westerly flow at the upper levels, then a ridging pattern continued through to the end of week two. The main surface feature during the period was a stationary front north of the area, supporting a north-easterly surface flow on February 8, then a predominantly east to southerly flow prevailed February 9 through 14 supported by ridging over the area, with the exception of February 13 where another stationary front supported a north-westerly surface flow. To the east of Belize, a surface trough was analysed and persisted over the north-west Caribbean, however, only isolated showers or thunderstorms were observed.
Moisture continued minimal across the country in week three with only isolated pockets observed over the mid to upper levels and a neutral to weakly divergent pattern was observed throughout the period. A polar trough was observed over the area February 15-17 yielding a west to south-westerly upper level wind component, followed by a more south-westerly flow February 18 to 21 as a result of an anticyclone. In the low levels, conditions also continued relatively dry with only isolated showers, if any. A slight increase in moisture occurred on February 18 leading to the development of a few afternoon thunderstorms over the mountain range that dissipated by night-fall. The approach of a cold front on February 19 supported the development of isolated showers over northern, central and inland areas. The front crossed the country on the evening of February 20 with skies becoming cloudy to overcast and periods of light rain and brief showers affected most areas. This front left a deep trough over the area, extending down to the surface and later became stationary over the north-west Caribbean. Cool conditions prevailed across the country up to February 21.
This front stalled and became stationary with moisture persisting into week four, concentrated mostly in the low levels until February 24. Skies were mostly clear at night-time with early morning fog reported on February 22 and 23. Thereafter, a surface trough over the area supported an east to north-easterly flow and isolated showers. Drier conditions began settling in towards the end of the month as the Bermuda high built and extended into the Caribbean and over Belize. Moderate to gusty east to south-east surface airflow prevailed through to the end of the month as a result of a tight pressure gradient over the area. The dry conditions and neutral to convergent pattern at the upper levels further suppressed any significant convection with fair and windy conditions ending off the overall, dry month.
The graph and maps below summarize the total rainfall and average maximum and minimum temperatures. They also give an indication of how these readings compare to the normal for the month across the stations sampled. As can be seen, rainfall was below normal over most areas of the country, except for some parts of the Corozal and Belize districts due to the passage of the two cold strong cold fronts that crossed the country and the approach of several other frontal systems that passed north of the area, where above normal rainfall was observed. In terms of temperatures, most of the stations sampled show below near normal maximum/daytime temperatures, while minimum/nighttime temperatures were also near normal for all the stations except for Central farm in the west and Punta Gorda station in the south.Monthly Rainfall SummaryMonthly Maximum TemperaturesMonthly Minimum TemperaturesRainfall Observed: February 2021 (mm)Rainfall Observed: February 2021 (% Above/Below Average)