Drought and Precipitation Statement Print E-mail
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Thursday, 31 January 2013 00:00

Rainfall collected from weather stations across Belize showed that north and inland areas of the country got well below normal rainfall, whiles central coastal and most of the south got normal to well above normal rainfall.  Rainfall forecast for the month of December was for normal rainfall for the entire country. These well below normal rainfall totals continue to cause the Inland areas of the country to plunge into severe meteorological drought.

Assessment of the drought conditions over  inland areas of the country, showed that that part of the country have been experiencing severe meteorological drought conditions since June-July-August and which have  progress right through to the October-November-December season. 

Drought condition in the northern parts of the country started in August-September-October season, as slight meteorological drought and reached severe drought in September-October-November season, but have lessen to slight meteorological drought in the October-November-December season.

Central coastal areas assessment showed that those areas, which experience moderate drought during September-October-November season, did not experience any drought in October-November-December season.

The south of the country is divided into two sections the northern south (Stann Creek) and the extreme south (Punta Gorda). The northern south  of the country had been experiencing serious to severe drought from the June-July-August season, but rainfall assessment for October-November-December show that some parts of  northern South did not experiencing any drought during the October-November-December season, except for the Savannah area which experiencing serious drought. The extreme south of the country is not experiencing any sort of drought.

Rainfall forecast for the month of January 2013 is projecting Normal rainfall over the entire country and seasonal forecast for January-February-March is also projecting Normal rainfall for the Belize.

ENSO conditions are expected become more neutral which usually indicated a more likely hood of normal rainfall pattern over the country. Global models are also showing normal rainfall over Belize.

Based on global models, climatological trends and subjective input, the drought conditions over Inland and Northern areas will lessen in the month of January. whiles for Northern and Inland areas expect Moderate drought to persist during the January-February-March season.

Drought is a deficiency of precipitation over an extended period of time - usually a season or more.  Drought is assessed by first examining the rainfall for each 3 month season. The data set 1981-2010 for different district stations across the country is used to determine whether the rainfall lie below the 30th percentile.

The method used to determine the rainfall deficit is an adjust version of the decile method that was developed by Gibbs and Maher (1967). The Australian Drought Watch System and some Caribbean countries also used this adjusted version of the decile as their meteorological measurement for drought. This method is chosen because it is relatively simple to calculate and requires less data.

Definitions of the drought terms:

Slight: rainfall (30th percentile to the 20th percentile)
Moderate: rainfall (20th percentile to the 10th percentile)
Serious: rainfall (10th percentile to the 5th percentile
Severe: rainfall (less than the 5th percentile).

Rainfall Description
The following definitions are being used on the 1981 to 2010 rainfall dataset:
 •Well Below normal: Rainfall totals in the lowest 10% of the dataset
 •Below Normal: Rainfall totals in the lowest 33.3% of the dataset
 •Near Normal: Rainfall totals in the middle 33.3% of the data
 •Above Normal: Rainfall totals in the highest 33.3% of the dataset
 •Well above Normal: Rainfall totals in the highest 10% of the dataset

The information contained herein is provided with the understanding that The National Meteorological Service  of Belize makes no warranties, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of this statement. The information may be used freely by the public with appropriate acknowledgement of its source, but shall not be modified in content and then presented as original material.
Next Drought Statement will be issued February 2013.
If you have quires or comments please contact Catherine Cumberbatch (Deputy Chief Meteorologist) This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .