|Monthly Weather Summary|
Monthly Weather Summary
NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE OF BELIZE
Climate statistics show that the main weather features that affect the country of Belize during August are tropical waves, Tropical Upper Tropospheric Troughs (TUTTs) and an occasional tropical cyclone. The month of August is also characterized by a two-week dry spell referred to locally as the ‘Maga Season’.
August 2016 saw the passage of seven tropical waves most of which were rather weak. The most significant feature to affect the country was Hurricane Earl which caused wind and storm surge damage mainly in the Ladyville area. Additionally, excess rainfall amounts over central areas of the country resulted in flooding particularly in the west.
Moisture gradually increased across the country during the first two days of August as the area came under a northeasterly surface flow ahead of the system which later developed into Hurricane Earl. Tropical Storm Earl formed just south of Jamaica at around 16Z (10 a.m. local time) on the 2nd of August. The system was moving westward at a relatively fast pace and by the 3rd August outer rain bands from Earl began affecting Belize. Skies were cloudy with some outbreak of showers and thunderstorms that day. Earl was upgraded to a hurricane at 21Z (3 p.m. local time) on the 3rd and made landfall later that night at about 11:53 p.m. local time as a category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. Landfall was about 13 miles south-southwest of Belize City. The highest wind gusts observed was at Half-Moon Caye where a 104 mph wind gust was recorded. At the Airport the highest gusts was 73 mph while at Port of Belize in Belize City it was 80 mph. Earl also caused a storm surge of about 3-5 feet particularly in the Vista Del Mar area of Ladyville. Hurricane Earl made a sudden southwestward wobble just before landfall and continued that motion across Belize with its center passing just south of Belmopan before moving further west. Torrential rainfall in the west resulted in flooding of the Macal River. Weather conditions gradually improved on the 5th as the system moved further west into Guatemala and eventually emerged in the Bay of Campeche before making a second landfall near Vera Cruz, Mexico on August 6th.
Moisture remained relatively high over Belize during the days immediately after Earl but rainfall totals were minimal. The relatively fair weather continued through to the 8th when a weak and rather inactive tropical wave crossed the country. Another weak tropical wave crossed on the night of the 9th resulting in showers and thunderstorms in the south.
Fair weather prevailed across the country on the 10th and 11th and then moisture begun increasing on the 12th ahead of another tropical wave. This resulted in a few showers and thunderstorms which continued on the 13th when the wave crossed. Moisture and instability, though decreasing, remained relatively high on the 14th causing a few more showers and thunderstorms across the country. Additionally, there were reports of a tornado-like storm affecting the Spanish Lookout area on the 14th.
An easterly to southeasterly airflow supported mainly fair weather on the 15th and most of the 16th with the exception of a few showers that affected mainly central and northern areas. This increase on the 16th was due the approach of yet another tropical wave. This wave crossed on the 17th causing moist conditions with a few showers and thunderstorms mainly over northern and central areas. Moisture decreased on the 18th and generally fair weather prevailed with only a few early morning showers and thunderstorms over the south.
Moisture increased once more on the 19th ahead of tropical wave number 5 for the month which crossed on the 20th. A brief reduction in moisture on the 21st was short-lived as yet another tropical wave was approaching. Tropical wave number 6 crossed on the night on of the 22nd resulting in showers and thunderstorms mainly over the south which continued early on the 23rd. Conditions continued slightly moist on the 24th and 25th as broad trofing developed over the central Caribbean and supported an east to northeasterly surface flow over Belize. A slack pressure pattern developed on the 26th causing light and variable early morning winds which became north to northeasterly later in the day. Weather conditions were mainly fair with only isolated showers and isolated thunderstorms.
The last tropical wave for the month was approaching on the 27th with a weak area of low pressure embedded along its axis over the northwest Caribbean. A distinct low level swirl was noted on visible satellite imagery. This wave became rather ill-defined thereafter and no significant weather affected the country with its passage.
The last few days of the month (August 28 to 31) saw a slack pressure pattern over the area resulting in light winds and very warm daytime temperatures. Conditions were generally fair with afternoon thunderstorms affecting mainly inland areas of the country.
The figures below show a summary of the rainfall activity for the month. The figure at the top shows the total rainfall recorded. As can be seen the highest rainfall was recorded over the central mountainous areas of the country with Baldy Beacon recording a total of 447.9 mm. The figure at the bottom shows how this rainfall compares to average as it shows what percentage of the normal was recorded. Blue colors indicate above normal while red colors indicate below normal rainfall. The figure clearly indicates that the south got significantly less rainfall than normal. Northern areas were also below normal but slightly less so compared to the south. Central areas of the country recorded above normal rainfall. This area of above normal rainfall correlates directly with the path taken by Hurricane Earl. This suggests that the excess rainfall from Hurricane Earl was likely the main factor contributing to above normal rainfall in this area.