Drought Monitoring - National Meteorological Service of Belize
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  May 2018 |  Print Report

Northern parts of the country as well as the southeast coast (Savannah) recieved below normal rainfall during the past three months. Therefore, a short-term drought watch is being issued for those areas.  See the map below.

The 12 month SPI-based drought outlook uses data through to March 2018, 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 there is no drought concern for most of the country except for the extreme north and the southeast coast where a drought warning and a drought watch are in effect, respectively. See the map below. The north experienced below normal rainfall during the ending months of 2017 and although rainfall was above normal during the early months of 2018, the current precipitation outlook suggests below normal rainfall for the coming six months (May to October 2018).

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.


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.

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

Forecaster: Gordon, Ronald

Last Updated: Mon, May 07, 2018 | 01:57 PM