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Tony Rath's

 
NATURAL HISTORY > Climate
Humidity
sunset over Cuello Mayan site

The overall climate of Belize is basically sub-tropical. Humidity is rarely oppressive for long, and even less so in the northern regions of the country. The mean annual hunmidity in Belize is only 83%, and because of the prevailing trade winds even high humidity days go unnoticed. And in the north, average humidity is a good deal lower than the national average.


Temperature

Temperatures in Belize range from 50°F in the mountains to 95°F in the western districts with a mean annual temperature of 79°F. Traditionally, November to January are the coolest months (averaging 75°F) while May to September are the hottest (averaging 81°F). The northern lowlands tend to be warmer than the south.

Rainfall

The following figure shows the approximate pattern of rainfall in the two northern districts of Belize.

rainfall graphs

Throughout the country, there is a fairly distinct 'dry-season' lasting 3 to 4 months in the north. The date of the onset of the 'dry' varies widely from year to year, but once begun, the actual amount of rain and the length of the season is relatively predictable.

Winds

It is the prevailing easterly winds that make Belize such a paradise. With an average speed of a gentle 10mph, these "tradewinds" blow intermittently between February and September, reaching their greatest constancy during the month of July. The basic patterns of the daily winds begin with light breezes during the early morning, gaining strength with onshore breezes during the afternoon and evening, before weakening late at night, sometimes switching to off-shore breezes before sunrise.

From October to January, northerly or northeasterly winds predominate. Called "northers", these strong winds are a result of the southward extension of the North American cold fronts. These "northers" can last a few days and bring overcast skies, strong northerly winds and cold, damp air into Belize.

Tropical Storms

Tropical storms and hurricanes are not a frequent occurance in Belize. The south and east coast of the United States have far more hurricane activity than Belize. Hurricane MitchThe last storm of any size to hit Belize was Iris in 2001. Before that it was Keith in 2000 and Greta in 1978. Storms in the western Caribbean tend to veer off north or south of Belize. The heart of the hurricane season in Belize is traditionally from late September to the end of October.

The Government of Belize established a National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) after the scare with Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Basically, the plan is to evacuate all coastal and low lying towns and villages to the western and higher part of the country. You can find more about hurricanes in Belize at the NEMO website.

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