Monthly weather summaries are prepared by the climate section of the National Meteorological Service (NMS) of Belize. The NMS of Belize maintains a network of over 25 weather stations that are situated primarily in the agricultural regions of the country. Temperature and rainfall are read at 9 am each morning and the rainfall total read at this time represents the accumulated rainfall for the previous day.
December marks the first month of the cool transition period between the rainy season and the dry season for Belize. This transition period typically lasts for about two to three months before the dry season sets in between mid February and early March. December is typically cool over the country with the main rainfall producers being cold fronts, prefrontal troughs and shear lines.
December 2018 started off dry and unseasonably warm. A moderate but slightly gusty easterly to southeasterly airflow prevailed for the first few days and supported these conditions. A cold front dipped as far south as northern Yucatan on the 5th and then moved into the extreme northwest Caribbean to just north of Belize on the 6th. The high pressure ridge behind this front moved off the the east and induced a relatively moist easterly to northeasterly flow on the 6th which supported a few showers mostly over northern, central and inland areas of the country. A few showers persisted over central and northern areas on the 7th, becoming isolated on the 8th and 9th, except for a few more over the south and over the Maya Mountains on the 9th.
The first cold front for the month crossed the country on the 10th. The prefrontal trough on the night of the 9th and early morning of the 10th supported a few showers mainly over northern and central areas of the country. The passage of the front later in the day of the 10th supported a few showers, isolated thunderstorms and light rain mostly over the sea. Fair, cool and mostly dry conditions prevailed over the country on the 11th and the day of 12th in the wake of the cold front. Light rain affected the Belize City and offshore areas on the night of the 12th through early morning of the 13th but conditions became fair once more by daybreak on the 13th and continued that way for the remainder of the day.
The second cold front for the month crossed on the night of the 14th. The passage of this front produced only a few light showers. The most significant weather with this system was strong and gusty winds with gusts of up to 30 knots recorded at the Municipal Airport in Belize City. The front had swept through by the morning of the 15th with fair and cool conditions dominating that day. No significant rainfall was reported.
Generally fair, cool and dry conditions persisted the following few days from the 16th through to the 19th except over the sea where a few showers developed on the 18th. This activity affected the San Pedro area with the automatic weather station recording 22.2 mm of rainfall on the 18th. Isolated showers affected the country on the afternoon of the 20th with the approach of yet another cold front. This cold front (the third for the month) crossed on the night of the 20th/early morning on the 21st. As the 3rd front for the month swept past, it ushered in another period of cool and mostly dry conditions in its wake that lasted until the 23rd. No significant rainfall was noted during this period.
Moisture started to increase over the country on the 23rd as the front began to retrogress towards the country. The activity started over the south where very light and brief showers were noted on the 23rd. Notably the automatic weather station in Placencia reported rainfall total of 61.0 mm on the 23rd while the station at Punta Gorda reported 22.8 mm on that day. By the 24th (Christmas Eve) some showers, periods of rain and isolated thunderstorms affected most of the country, but especially northern, central areas and the eastern slopes of the Maya Mountains. Heaviest activity occurred over Belize City with the station at the Municipal Airport reporting 95.6 mm of rainfall and that at Port of Belize reporting 82.9 mm. Activity decreased a bit on Christmas day. However, a few showers still lingered on and persisted through to the 26th.
Finally, the month of December ended off the way it started. A tight pressure gradient became established between the Atlantic High Pressure system (Bermuda High) northeast of the area and low pressures over the northwest Gulf of Mexico. This supported a gusty and mostly dry easterly to southeasterly airflow straight through to the end of the month. Except for occasional light and brief isolated showers, little to no rainfall was noted during this period.
The graphs and maps below summarize the total rainfall and average maximum and minimum temperature recorded during the month of December 2018. They also give an indication of how these readings compare to the normal for the month across the stations sampled. As can be seen, rainfall was below normal for the southern two-thirds of the country while it was near normal from Belize City northward. In terms of maximum temperatures, most of the stations sampled here show above normal maximum/daytime temperatures, except for Savannah where the average maximum temperature for the month was slightly below normal and the Airport where the average maximum for the month was just about normal. Nighttime/minimum temperatures were also slightly higher than normal for most areas except for Punta Gorda and Pomona where nighttime temperatures were slightly cooler than normal and Central Farm where they were near normal.
Forecaster: Gordon, Ronald
Last Updated: Thu, Jan 10, 2019 | 11:38 AM