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Monthly Weather Summary

NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE OF BELIZE


Month:

March 2017


 

The month of March in Belize is typically characterized by windy conditions, with winds blowing generally from the East; March climatologically has the highest average wind speed. While thunderstorm activity would be limited during this time of the dry season, some areas of the country would experience light to moderate showers or rain. Normal rainfall amounts would range from about 30mm over northern parts of the country, to about 80mm over southern parts of the country. This March of 2017 saw only one cold front crossing Belize near mid-month, supporting a few days of mild / relatively cool temperatures across the country.

 

On the first day, Belize experienced a seasonably moderate (10-20 knots) easterly surface flow, with skies being clear to partly cloudy. Showers were isolated, and concentrated especially over southern areas of the country. Winds continued moderate, becoming gusty for a few days, then backing to become east-to-northeasterly from the 2nd to the 11th of the month. During this time, water vapor satellite imagery showed that the upper levels remained relatively dry over Belize. Showers were generally isolated on the 2nd. Then, a cold front - which had crossed the Gulf of Mexico and entered the northern Caribbean around the 4th - had become stationary near Jamaica area. The east-to-northeasterly surface flow brought over pockets of moisture from the western Caribbean waters. As a result of pre-frontal activity and the passing of the front over the northwestern / western Caribbean, the 3rd to the 11th saw some cloudy spells, along with a few showers affecting mostly central and southern areas of the country. There was a break on the 9th, however, where little rainfall was noted on radar imagery.    

 

From the 12th to the 16th, the upper levels were shown to be relatively moist over Belize area. On the 12th and 13th, the surface winds had veered to become east-to-southeasterly, and lighter, as the pressure gradient had slackened over the area. With such an airflow at the surface, skies were partly cloudy with characteristically relatively drier conditions. Only isolated showers were noted, with a possible isolated thunderstorm developing over the Maya Mountains area in the afternoon of the 12th. Later on, the pressure gradient tightened once more over the area, and winds backed to become north-to-northeasterly, also becoming gusty at times. With a relatively moister airflow, skies were noted to be mostly cloudy during the 14th to the 16th. A few showers and isolated thunderstorms were noted over the north and along some coastal areas of the country at first, supported by pre-frontal activity; and then, a few showers affected mostly coastal/offshore areas, as well as central and southern mainland areas, including the Maya Mountains. During the night of the 15th, mostly clear skies were observed, with cool overnight temperatures in the wake of the passing of the cold front. This cold front had become stationary over Jamaica/Eastern Cuba area for a few days afterwards, providing pockets of moisture to flow over Belize with the northeasterly airflow.

 

The final couple weeks in the month saw clear to partly cloudy skies with the weather being mainly fair, and only isolated showers developed during the 17th to the 24th. Middle to upper levels had become mostly dry once again. Meanwhile, low level moisture capped near the surface had been supported by moderate and gusty northeasterly airflow, which had backed to become north-to-northeasterly by the 19th. Onwards, surface winds veered and weakened, becoming east-to-northeasterly through to the 23rd; becoming predominantly easterly for a couple days; and then veering once more to become east-southeasterly from the 27th. The winds increased in strength again, as pressure gradient over the area strengthened once more.
From the 25th to the 30th, the weather continued mainly fair and dry, with observations of little to no rainfall. Then, the 31st saw similar weather, with hazy conditions. On this last day of the month, relatively moist and relatively unstable environmental conditions, along with daytime heating, supported the development of an afternoon thunderstorm over the Maya Mountains, near the western border with Guatemala.

 

As mentioned throughout the discussion, most of the rainfall activity occurred over southern areas of the country. Resulting comparisons of total rainfall in March, 2017 against normal rainfall for March, climatologically, (at some of the key weather stations set up across the country) are shown in the figure below. 

 

March RR Total 2017 Vs Norm.png

 

Forecaster:

A. Guy