Beautiful day in Hopkins Village on Monday. Photo by Hopkins UncutMonthly Weather Summary, January 2022
National Meteorological Service of Belize
January is typically the most active month for frontal systems during the dry season which is one of the sources of rainfall. On average, a total of twelve cold fronts, two stationary fronts, seven upper-level troughs, three surface troughs and one warm front would influence weather conditions and rainfall in January. A total of six cold fronts, one stationary front, six surface troughs, seven high pressure systems, and two surface lows affected the country, but the dominant feature was ridging over the area. Overall, rainfall was below normal over most areas, except for parts of central and south-eastern Belize who received most of the rainfall activity from the passage of the fronts and low pressure systems.
The first week started off relatively dry over most areas but by January 3, moisture began to increase in the low levels, while upper levels continued dry due to ridging over the area. Ridging was also the dominant feature over the area during this week which supported a moderate east to south-easterly surface flow on most days, except for a moist north-easterly flow on the 3rd to the 6th due to the passage of a cold front which extended from western Cuba to Belize and a surface trough over the Yucatan and Northeast Belize of January 5th. Little upper-level support continued during this week due to a high-pressure ridge over the area with a neutral pattern becoming weakly divergent of January 7th. The upper-level flow was west to south-westerly supported by the high-pressure ridge to the west and a digging trough to the east of Belize. Fair weather prevailed the first two days of the month with moisture levels increasing as the front approached and crosses that led to showers and periods of rain affecting most areas of the country on the 3rd, then mostly over offshore areas on the 4th. Showery activity was isolated January 5th to 6th, then a slight increase occurred on the 7th with an isolated thunderstorms embedded in it and affected southern offshore locations.
Despite being in the dry season, moisture levels continued relatively high into week 2 supported by a moist north-easterly surface airflow due to the high-pressure ridge extending from the Gulf of Mexico to the western Caribbean. The upper levels were relatively moist up until January 10th with an upper-level trough supporting a west to southwest airflow in a neutral to weakly divergent pattern. The high moisture levels during this week along with the instability enhanced by an approaching frontal system yielded a few showers and isolated thunderstorms mostly over central and northern locations on the 7th and 8th. The showery activity persisted trough to January 13 and rainfall activity increased to some showers and periods of rain over offshore locations while activity was isolated on the mainland and decreased further on the 14th.
Drier conditions began to set in ahead of the passage of a cold front with a strong ridge behind. The frontal system did not have much moisture associated with it in both the lower and upper levels which were relatively dry during the period but did support a few showers and periods of rain over central and western locations along with overcast skies as it cross the country on January 16 before becoming stationary. Temperatures, however, were relatively cool supported by a moderate north to north-westerly surface flow through to the 18th. The upper-level flow continued west to south-westerly due to a near stationary trough/ridge system. Fairer conditions prevailed with mild temperatures and isolated showers as a ridging supported an east to south-easterly flow January 19 to 21 except for Punta Gorda, where 16mm of rainfall was received on the 20th. The week ended with an increase in moisture and showery activity over northern, central, and inland locations,
Although the upper levels continued very dry over the area, low level moisture in the last week except for January 25-27 which were relatively dry supported several outbreaks of showers to close off the month. This was due to the approach of a cold front that became stationary over the Yucatan Peninsula on January 22, but prefrontal activity supported scattered showers along the coast and over mountain areas. The moist east to north-easterly surface flow that prevailed due to these systems led to a few showers persisting over coastal and northern areas on January 23 and 24. A break in showery activity occurred between January 25 to 27 as a light east to south-easterly flow prevailed with a dry and stable atmosphere and only isolated showers were observed mainly offshore. On January 28, another frontal system approached with a 1012hPa low pressure system across Belize. This led to overnight showers over coastal and offshore locations shifting to central and coastal locations in the early morning. Moisture levels increase further over the areas as the strong front crossed the country of January 29 and extended over the western North Atlantic to Honduras. A broad upper-level trough was associated with this front supporting a westerly upper-level flow with a moderate to strong north to north-westerly surface flow. Light rain affected central locations with some rain and isolated showers over offshore locations. On January 31, light rain continued over some central coastal areas but decreased by afternoon as conditions over the area became drier as an east to south-easterly surface flow began to set in and a zonal flow prevailed at the upper levels.
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, most of the country continue to experience below normal rainfall, except for over some northern, central, and southern locations. In terms of temperatures, most of the stations sampled show near normal maximum/daytime except for Melinda in the south that was slightly above normal and near normal minimum/night-time temperatures, except for Belmopan and Savannah which were slightly above normal.Monthly Rainfall SummaryMonthly Maximum TemperaturesMonthly Minimum TemperaturesRainfall Observed: January 2022 (mm)Rainfall Observed: January 2022 (% Above/Below Average)