Drought and Precipitation Statement
For Stations Across
Belize – April 2013
Rainfall collected for the month April from weather stations across Belize showed that a few stations did not receive any rainfall and most stations got less than 20% of their normal. These low rainfall totals resulted in moderate to severe meteorological drought over most of the country during the February-March-April.
Moderate to Severe Meteorological Drought Emerges over most of the Country
Assessment of the drought conditions over inland areas of the country showed that, that part of the country which had been experiencing severe meteorological drought conditions since the June-July-August period of 2012 had lessened to moderate meteorological drought in the November-December-January period and had disappeared in the December-January-February period. The very low rainfall that occurred in March and April had caused the drought condition to return and now the Inland parts of the country are experiencing Moderate to Serious Drought.
Drought condition in the northern parts of the country started in the August-September-October period of 2012, as slight meteorological drought and reached severe drought in the September-October-November period in 2012, but had lessened to slight meteorological drought in the October-November-December period. The rainfall reading from the northern areas of the country during the month of February shows that those areas were not experiencing any sort of drought. Serious to Severe meteorological drought had emerged over these areas as a result of the low rainfall in March and April 2013.
Central Coastal areas assessment showed that those areas in the February-March-April period are experiencing Moderate to Serious drought.
The south of the country is divided into two sections, the northern south (Stann Creek) and the extreme south (Punta Gorda). Assessment of the rainfall for the entire south of the country shows that those areas are experiencing serious to severe drought for the February-March-April period.
Rainfall forecast for the month of May 2013 is projecting Normal rainfall to prevail over the country.
Seasonal forecast for May-June-July 2013 is also projecting slightly above normal rainfall for Northern and Inland areas and normal rainfall for the rest of the country.
Based on global models, climatological trends and subjective input, the drought is expected to remain the same over the entire country for the month of May 2013.
Table 1: Rainfall (mm) Tower Hill for past 3 month (North)ill
Table2: Rainfall (mm) Philip Goldson Airport for the past 3 months. (Central Coastal)
Table3: Rainfall (mm) Central Farm for the past 3 months. (Inland)
Table4: Rainfall (mm) Melinda Forest station for the past 3 months. (South)
Table 5: Rainfall (mm) Savannah Forest Station. (South)
Table 6: Rainfall (inches) Punta Gorda Agricultural Station. (Extreme South)
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).
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 in the first week of April 2013.
If you have quires or comments please contact Catherine Cumberbatch (Deputy Chief Meteorologist)