Drought Monitoring - National Meteorological Service of Belize
  March 2019

Latest data suggest that short-term drought is evolving over the Stann Creek and Cayo Districts while short-term drought is possible over the remainder of the country  (see the map below).

The 12 month SPI-based drought outlook uses data through to January 2019, with potential impacts on large surface water reserves and groundwater. In general negative impacts are expected if the SPI is less than or equal to -1.3 (very dry or worse ref: CDPMN). The current 12-month SPI-based drought outlook for the country shows that  long-term drought is evolving over the Cayo District while long-term drought is possible over the remainder of the country (see the map below).

Forecast Drought Condition for Belize is done using Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI)

The Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI), developed by T.B. Mckee, N.J. Doesken and J. Kleist (McKee et al. 1993) of Colorado State University is an index that, if used carefully, can provide early warning of an extended drought period and aid in assessing drought severity. It can also provide similar information at the other end of the spectrum- extremely high precipitation. SPI is basically a representation of rainfall in units of standard deviation. Positive values indicate greater than median rainfall; negative values indicate less than median rainfall. Belize is now using this tool for early drought warning.

Table SPI classification (CIMH)
SPI ValueCategorySPI ValueImpact

A three-month SPI analysis reflects short to medium term moisture and can give an indication of available moisture conditions at the beginning of the growing season. A six-month SPI analysis reflects medium term trends in rainfall and is effective in showing rainfall distribution over distinct seasons as well as being associated with anomalous stream flows and reservoir levels, which takes longer to manifest itself than does agricultural drought. A twelve-month SPI can indicate the potential periods of shortfall in groundwater amounts.

Drought Levels


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If you have inquiries or comments please contact the Climate Section at the National Meteorological Service.

Forecaster: Gordon, Ronald

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 05, 2019 | 10:40 AM