Rainy Season Begins, Bringing Relief After Extended Drought and Wildfires

Rainy Season Begins, Bringing Relief After Extended Drought and Wildfires

After an extended drought with some of the highest temperatures on record, the rainy season is finally here. The National Meteorological Service says that rains began last Thursday and came at a critical time for areas battling wildfires. Chief Meteorologist Ronald Gordon says that rainfall was up to seven inches in some areas, and that rains are expected to continue throughout the week.

Ronald Gordon, Chief Meteorologist: “So we did get rains starting actually from the Thursday afternoon as we had mentioned primarily over the Maya mountains and in some area that were being affected by fires so we got the good news that the fires were actually extinguished in that area. Then certainly we had rains again on Friday and continuing into the weekend particularly on Saturday night I think most of the country got rain including Belize City finally. So certainly the rainy season officially has started. Our criteria for the rainy season to officially start is that you get at least one inch of rainfall within a one week period and with at least four days out of those seven days getting some rain. So most of our stations have passed that criteria already so we can declare that the rainy season has started. In terms of total figures since Thursday of last week up to this morning our up to around midday looking at the data from our automatic weather stations we see that the highest amount countrywide occurred over Challio where we recorded 178 mm of rainfall which is about approximately 7 inches. So certainly that’s a blessing. We know that we were having issues with the dams. I am now hoping that Fortis will report that he dam levels are increasing so that’s the good news. Other areas of note is the southern part of the country where we had over three inches of rainfall over that period and in the extreme north as well where we had also about three inches. Belmopan City, the capital, according to the data I’m seeing has only recorded about 3.6mm which is not too good for them but the rainy season is here so we’re certainly looking at rainfalls continuing.”

Gordon warned that, while the rains have arrived, temperatures are still soaring and the public needs to take precautions.

Ronald Gordon, Chief Meteorologist: Going into the forecast we see that we are going to be having rainfall primarily at night time for the next few days and then over the mountains and inland areas during the afternoon hours. We do see a significant increase on Thursday night going into Friday. According to some model estimates, we may be receiving up to four inches of rainfall during that period. So the focus certainly is going to be shifting away from the fire situation.to the flooding, the possibility of flooding as we approach the end of the week and as our soils become more saturated. From our own knowledge, we know that with the increase in fall and as soils become more saturated then flooding is certainly a possibility. So definitely we advise residents to be on the lookout for that possibility. And then I believe last week also NEMO and hydrology issued an alert in relation to landslide. So we know that there has been areas in the south of the country in particular, the mountainous areas where we had lost vegetation due to the fires. And therefore that would result in the possibility of landslides in those areas when you have a lot of water coming down in a short time. So certainly, like I said, that’s a significant hazard that we need to look out for. And I don’t wanna forget to mention also that it is still hot. So even though we have rains, we do know that temperatures are still excessively hot. Yesterday in particular, in areas soaring to almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit still. So we are not out of the heat season as yet. We are getting rains, but then it’s still hot. And that makes it worse because then you have the humidity factor to consider as well. And also certainly residents are still advised to pay keen attention to the advisers in relation to heat and heat stress.”

We’ll be hearing more about the National Met Services analysis of recent weather data in a subsequent newscast.

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