|BelizeWeather and Climate
and Climate in Belize
overall climate of Belize can be described as sub-tropical. The humidity
while high, is seldom oppressive for long and is most noticeable along
the coast. The mean annual humidity is 83%, but many days the humidity
is masked by the cooling sea breezes. The Belize coastal area is exposed
to southeast tradewinds averaging 10-13 knots and attain an uncanny consistency
during the month of July.
in Belize range from 50°F to 95°F with an annual mean of 79°F.
November to January are traditionally the coolest months with a 75°F
average and May to September are the warmest at about a 81°F average.
Location is a big factor for temperature as Cayo to the west can be several
degrees colder then along the coast and during November at night, temperatures
can fall to a beautiful 46°F in Cayo. In the mountains, the coldest
days and nights might seem relatively very cold and blankets will definitely
be needed at night. However, the mean annual temperatures on in the mountains
is a perfectly comfortable 72°F.
are definite wet and dry seasons. The onset of the "dry"
varies widely from year to year, but once the onset of the dry commences,
the actual amount of rain falling during the "dry" is a predictable
amount. This is not necessarily so for the remainder of the year though.
As a general rule though, the higher the average rainfall, the greater
are the departures from the norm. For example, rainfall in Punta Gorda
to the south in September maybe 12 inches one year and 36 inches the following.
of rainy days varies considerable from place to place. The Cayo District
has an average of 125 rainy days per year; Belize District averages about
171 rainy days, the Stann Creek District 183 days per year while in Punta
Gorda they often have over 200 days of rain every year. Many of these
rainy days are insignificant though, with early morning showers (called
"night rain" by the locals" blossoming beautiful rainbows.
These "night rains" are caused by cool air moving down from
the mountains which cools the air along the cost causing a light rain.
PATTERNS BY MONTH
The seasonal march of weather patterns in Belize is of considerable interests
to vacationers and local farmers. While the following descriptions vary
from year to year, once the pattern begins, the following weather conditions
are usually predictable. Much of the following is taken from the classic
book on Belizean Natural History by Charles Wright called "Land in
In January, the northeast tradewinds are normally established. In the
Toledo District, except for a narrow coastal strip, the days are usually
free from rain. On the upland Maya Mountains, the rainfall is only about
9 or 10 inches and almost all of the north of the country receives less
then 3 inches of rain. In the south, the Mayan bean crops are maturing
while in the north, the sugar cane harvesting is in full swing.
the most consistent month of the year in all districts except in Toledo.
The dry easterly tradewinds blow steadily and the morning showers along
the coast are gentle and infrequent. The Toledo coast gets about 6 inches
of rain. Most of the northern part of the country gets only about an inch
of rain. This is the month when you will see most of the clearing of forest
by farmers throughout the country.
March is another reliable month. The pattern of rainfall is similar to
February and the northern parts of the country often go all month without
rain.. The steady trades are beginning to fluctuate a little and thunderstorms
start to form over the Maya Mountains. Toledo has its first "dry"
month of the year (averaging about 4 inches) and the eager Mayan farmers
are beginning to burn their "Milpas" and sow their corn - though
most will wait for April.
April ushers in the onset of the rains caused by the heating of the land.
Huge thunderstorms begin to build over the hot Maya Mountains. The easterly
trades are losing their force and the thunderstorms often move toward
the coast. These afternoon buildups are beautiful to watch, with most
of the lightening hitting deep within the Maya Mountains. Toledo has another
dry month of only about 4 inches of rain, and the Mayan farmers wait till
after the ground is soften by the rains to begin to plant their corn or
burn the bush. In the north, the rainfall is very sporadic and go by the
local name of "Iguana Rains".
During May, every part of the country can be assured of at least 2 inches
of rain. The most striking characteristics of May are the majestic towering
thunderheads. Strong convection currents caused by the heated land make
these thunderheads daily occurrences.. By the end of the month, stormy
conditions are becoming general throughout Belize and rainstorms are frequent
in the south. The rainfall in Toledo may jump to 10 inches and storms
blow in from the south east often lasting for three days.
During June, easterly winds become fairly strong and steady. Rainfall
in Toledo rises to 24 inches average. The rains are fairly consistent
throughout the country, though the coast may get more rain then the land
immediately behind. The rains are warm and quick, with plenty of sunshine
- perfect growing conditions for the vast tropical forests which cover
the country. Most of the Mayan farmers stop farming operations as well
as loggers. Even the north part of the country gets 7 or 8 inches of rain.
July closely mirrors June and the rainfall is similar. The extreme northern
part of the country may receive a little less rain then June, but Toledo
still gets about 24 inches of rain during the month. This rainfall is
highly variable from year to year, but no part of the country receives
less then 6 inches of rain during the month.
August sees the dying away of the southeasterly rains, and rainfall drops
about 2 inches throughout the country. A dry westerly wind dominates the
weather. Toledo still receives plenty of rain. These dry conditions around
the country which may last for a couple of weeks are locally referred
to as the "Little Dry". August is a fairly reliable month and
westerly winds may become quite strong. The citrus harvest begins in the
Stann Creek Valley with the sweetest juices you can imagine.
September is the month of dying breezes. North and west winds are light
and variable. Most of the rains fall on the mountains where the warm moist
sea breezes meet the cooling land mass at the close of the day. Evening
and night rains are common. Toledo receives about 22 inches of rain and
even the northern part of the country receives between 5 and 7 inches.
Mayan farmers are harvesting their corn while planting early crops of
In October, the "northers" increase. These northers bring in
cold air from the north which meets the warm tropical air over Belize,
causing rainfall and heavy northern winds. Strong "northers"
blow right across the Maya Mountains and dump heavy rains on Toledo. Light
"northers" drop heavy rains on the northern side of the Maya
Mountains in the Cayo District. The northers can often be quite cool and
cause light craft warnings throughout the country. They seldom last for
more then 3 days at a time.
November sees the northerly winds at their most strongest and coldest.
The east winds are very light and weak. Land breezes with cold air move
down toward the coast where they meet the warm moist sea breeze increase
rainfall along the barrier reef. There is a long rain shadow area extending
for almost the entire length of the coastal plain along the foothills
of the Maya Mountain Range. Grass fires in the savannas are common during
the month of November within this rain shadow.
During December, the dry season should arrive and talk turns to the coming
planting season. There is an increase in easterly winds and the northers
are dying away. As the northers die, a slow moving belt of gentle rains
move across the country and are known locally as the "mid-winter
rains". The southeasterly trades begin to blow, carrying the cycle
back into January.
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