The main weather story in 2016 was hurricane Earl which made landfall in Belize on the night of August 3, 2016. Earl was a category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph at the time of landfall. The center of the storm made landfall a few miles south-southwest of Belize City and caused 3-5 feet of storm surge particularly in the Vista Del Mar Area of Ladyville. Storm winds moved onshore as the storm made a west to southwest track across the country. Hurricane Earl did not cause any deaths in Belize, but it left a trail of destruction in the Agriculture and Tourism Industries. Additionally, the infrastructure of the country suffered severe damages. Many roads and homes were destroyed. This resulted in millions of dollars lost to the Country.
In terms of droughts, the country did not suffer from severe drought in 2016, however some areas of the country were affected by mild drought conditions. This was especially the case over the central western areas.
WMO has indicated that 2016 was the warmest year on record globally. Data from six weather stations in Belize show mean temperatures were above normal in 2016. The values range about 0.3ºC to 0.9ºC above average which correspond to around 1-3 % above normal. The stations sampled are representative of the country as they spanned the various geographical regions.
In terms of rainfall, most stations recorded below normal rainfall for 2016. See details below:
2016 started out abnormally dry. Rainfall totals for Jaunary 2016 showed that all stations reported below average rainfall. Tower Hill in the Orange Walk district, for example, was exceptionally dry recording only 13mm of rainfall during the entire month. This is only 18% of its normal total for the month. The situation swinged dramatically in the other direction in February. All stations recorded well above their average that month. Baldy Beacon up in the Mountain Pine Ridge was the wettest with a total of 248mm. In March, the picture was mixed. The the northwest parts of the country (La Milpa) and the mountainous areas (Baldy Beacon) were wetter than normal while other areas were normal or just below normal. A mixed pattern also manifested itself in April 2016. This time, the wet areas included northern Belize (Tower Hill) and the mountanous regions (Baldy Beacon) while coastal Belize saw rainfall totals well below their climatological norm. April is on average the driest month of the year but a total of only 4.3mm of rainfall at the airport in April 2016 was exceptional. The normal amount would be 57.2mm. This exceptionally dry April was most likely due the fact that only one weak frontal boundary affected the country while the average is normally two fronts. The graph below illustrates rainfall totals for April 2016 versus the climatological norm for the month.
April 2016 Rainfall Total
|Station||Total April 2016||April's Normal|
The rainy season usually starts in mid May over southern Belize. The rains then gradually make their way north by the end of May. However, the start of the rainy season did not occur in May in 2016. All stations saw rainfall totals well below their average. The airport was again exceptionally dry as only 11.7mm of rainfall was recorded. This is only 8.5% of the normal amount for May which is 138.2mm of rainfall. The rains finally came in June of 2016. The northern half of the country as well as coastal Belize and Stann Creek Districts recorded above average rainfall while the Mountain Pine ridge area was below normal. The Toledo District saw near average rainfall in June 2016. Melinda recorded the highest amount with a total of 527.7mm. This amount is just over twice its normal which is 258.6mm.
Rainfall was normal to slighly above normal over southern and central coastal areas in July 2016. However northern and western areas recorded well below thir average. Driest was Libertad in Corozal which only recorded 36.2mm of rainfal while the normal for the month is 175.8mm. August was also dry for most areas with the exception of areas affected by the passage of Hurricane Earl. These include the Belize and Cayo Districts. The south was quite dry in August 2016. The south (coastal Stann Creek and Toledo Districts) saw some relief in September while other areas were dry. A similar situation continued in October. Only one station (Savannah) saw abover avereage rainfall that month while most other stations recorded below average (see the graph below).
October 2016 Rainfall Total
|Station||Total October 2016||October's Normal|
Some relief came in November of 2016. This was especially through for Central and western Belize (Belize and Cayo Districts) where rainfall totals were well above averge. The south was near average or just below while the north was below average. The rainfalls this month was largely due to the effects of Hurricane Otto that crossed southern Central America and emerged in the Eastern Pacific. December 2016 was also wetter than normal for most areas of the country except for the western parts of the Cayo District. The graph below shows just how wet December 2016 was compared to the climatological norm. As can be seen Savannah was the wettest with an exceptional 387mm of rainfall.
December 2016 Rainfall Total
|Station||Total December 2016||December's Normal|
The rainfall summary for each month as well as a summary for the entire year can be seen by clicking a link in the table below. The information is plotted on a map of the country.