Holy Moley, heavy sargassum downtown. Photo by Tacogirl
Beachfront in Hopkins on Thursday. Photo by Hopkins UncutMonthly Weather Summary, March 2022
National Meteorological Service of Belize
March is typically the month where frontal activity begins to decrease in Belize but also one of the months with the most upper-level troughs. On average, a total of six cold fronts, one stationary front, one warm front nine upper-level troughs and three surface troughs would influence weather conditions and rainfall. In March, a total of three cold fronts, one stationary front, three surface trough, one surface low and fourteen high pressure systems affected the country. Overall, rainfall was above normal over most areas due to rainfall activity from the passage of the fronts and fronts that dissipated and stalled over the area, except for the extreme north-western part of the country and the mountains which received near normal rainfall.
During the first week of March, moisture levels was capped below 800hPa as dry conditions continued to prevail in the mid and upper levels. A light and slightly moist north-easterly flow over the northwest Caribbean and Belize supported a few showers and periods of light rain from the first to the fourth mainly over some central, southern, and offshore areas from the tail end of a weakening cold front. These showers were shallow as limited upper-level moisture and instability existed over the area due to a neutral to weakly convergent pattern and a west to north-westerly flow most of the week from an upper-level ridge. March 5 to 7 saw drier conditions with a high-pressure ridge supporting an easterly surface flow and mainly fair weather except for March 6, where a few showers affected mostly northern and central locations.
In week two, a light to moderate east to south-easterly flow from a high-pressure ridge over the area supported fair and warm conditions across the country. No significant rainfall activity occurred March 8 through 11 except for an isolated shower and isolated thunderstorm over the Maya Mountain and near the western border. Both the lower and upper levels contained little moisture during this period with the upper level being very dry. A neutral to convergent upper-level pattern prevailed with a mostly west to north-westerly wind component that inhibited any significant rainfall activity over the area. Conditions became gradually moist from March 12 to 14 as a cold front approached the area and crossed the country early morning on March 13. Subsequently, troughing prevailed and isolated showers developed over the south on March 12 with skies becoming cloudy by March 13 and a few showers and periods of rain affected mostly central, coastal, and southern Belize. This activity continued into March 14 as conditions became moister and more unstable with a divergent upper-level pattern. A significant amount of rainfall was recorded during this period in the abovementioned locations with the highest one-day total rainfall occurring near Melinda Station on March 12, Belmopan on March 13, and Punta Gorda on March 14 with 59.3mm, 63.5 mm and 84 mm respectively. The daily rainfall record for March 13 was exceeded at the Phillip Goldson, Spanish Lookout, Central Farm, Belmopan, Savannah, and Melinda stations with values of 57.9mm, 49.7mm, 46.4mm, 63.5mm, 39.2mm and 11.4mm respectively. Only one station exceeded the Month of March daily extreme value and that was Punta Gorda with 84mm, the previous record was 77.5mm.
Ridging was the dominant factor in week three and a moderate east to south-easterly surface flow prevailing that became strong at times. At the upper levels, dry conditions persisted with a west to south-westerly flow due a broad trough supporting a neutral to weakly divergent pattern through much of the week. Despite having a slight increase in moisture in the low levels between March 16 to 19, showery activity over the area was isolated and mostly over the southern districts and Maya Mountains in the afternoon. A few more showers occurred of March 16 over Toledo. Elsewhere, fair, and warm conditions prevailed.
During the last week of the month, the main feature affecting the weather in the low level was a ridge pattern with relatively dry conditions. At the upper levels, troughing over the central Gulf of Mexico supported a west to south-westerly flow through to March 29 then the flow became north-westerly. On March 24 and 25, low level moisture increased over the area due to a cold front over the Yucatan Peninsula and Belize. This front crossed and became stationary near northern Honduras on the 26th and then the tail end began dissipating on the 28th. A few showers or light rain with isolated thunderstorms developed between 24th and 25th due to the front mainly over the south and north. When the tail end of the front began to dissipate on March 28 with a shear line extending over the northwest Caribbean, showery activity increased across the country, especially over norther, central and coastal locations and very moist conditions prevailed in the low levels in a north to north-easterly flow. The activity shifted mostly north and south on the 29 and began to decrease ending the month with little to no rainfall activity as a strong south-easterly flow developed over the area.
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 experienced above normal rainfall. In terms of temperatures, most of the stations sampled show near normal maximum/daytime and slight above normal minimum/night-time temperatures except for Punta Gorda where slightly cooler than normal minimum temperatures were recorded.Monthly Rainfall SummaryMonthly Maximum TemperaturesMonthly Minimum TemperaturesRainfall Observed: March 2022 (mm)Rainfall Observed: March 2022 (% Above/Below Average)