Belize Hurricane Season Summary 2016 PDF Print E-mail






Press Release


Closure of the 2016 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season.


The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season turned out above average as was forecasted.  A total of fifteen (15) named storms formed. Of these fifteen named storms, seven (7) became hurricanes and three reached major hurricane status - category three (3) or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The strongest storm for the season was Hurricane Matthew with winds of 160 mph and minimum central pressure of 934 millibars. The table below summarizes the 2016 Hurricane Season and compares this season activity against the average.



 2016 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season

2016 Season Observation


Named Storms






Hurricanes Cat 3-5





The major factors that supported the higher than normal activity during the 2016 season were warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Basin, higher than normal Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE)  and the transition from El Niño to more Neutral to La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean. The transition phase resulted in weaker wind shear over the Caribbean. Weaker wind shear in the Atlantic usually supports deeper and more organized convection in the region and this often leads to higher than normal tropical cyclone activity.



Of the fifteen systems formed during the season, Belize was unfortunate to be impacted by Hurricane Earl. Earl, a Category one (1) hurricane crossed the country on August 03, 2016. Hurricane Earl did not cause any deaths in Belize, but it left a trail of destruction in the Agriculture and Tourism Industries. Additionally, the infrastructure of the country suffered severe damages. Many roads and homes were destroyed. This resulted in millions of dollars lost to the Country.


Hurricane Matthew and Otto were the other two systems that developed in the region. Matthew had no impact on the country.  Hurricane Otto affected the region during the period November 24 to 27.  Moisture lingering behind Otto, on its track across southern Central America, caused heavy rainfall over Belize. This resulted in localized flooding in low lying and flood prone areas.


Although today marks the closure of the 2016 Atlantic Basin Hurricane season, history teaches us that systems do form outside of the seasons. One example is Tropical Storm Alex that formed in January of 2016. The National Meteorological Service takes this time to ask each and every one to do a  review of their 2016 hurricane plan and  to see their weaknesses and short-falls, so they can be better prepared if need arises in 2017.


The staff at the National Meteorological Service will continue to do its utmost best to disseminate reliable analytic information in a timely and user-friendly manner to the Belizean public in the case of any weather-related emergency event. The service remains committed in its mission of keeping the Belizean people well informed of any weather event that may affect their well-being and/or may affect the sustainable development of the nation.





Last Updated on Monday, 12 December 2016 18:59