Belize Sailing Stories

Weather Patterns

A good source of information on climate is Freya Rauscher's "Cruising guide to Belize and the Mexican Caribbean Coast".

She says there are two distinct seasons, wet and dry. The rainy season begins in late May and runs to the end of October with maximum rainfall (8-10 inches in a month) in July, September and October. Hottest temperatures are in the mid 90's along the coast and higher inland. Dry season runs from November until early May. The low temperatures do drop into the 60's after cold fronts pass through. The best times for clear weather are from February to early May.

The one reliable factor in the climate is the 15-22 knot easterly trade wind. Looking at the pilot charts for that area, the overwhelming majority of time the winds are easterly which makes cruising up and down the channel between the mainland and the barrier reefs a reach both ways. Rauscher says Feb-Sep winds are E to SE, Oct-Jan are N-NE. Usual wind pattern is 10-15 during the day, frequently rising to 20-25, dropping during the night and shifting to the SE.

"Nortes" which are cold air masses coming off the continental land mass can occur from late October to March with dramatic wind shifts and gales out of the N to NW.

Then there is the question of hurricanes. Belize has been hit twice in the last couple of years. This last one seemed to have come very close to Placentia, where Moorings has their base. There was some damage, but the hotels and diving resorts were in business within a few weeks as was the charter companies' bases.

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