Belize now has 70 per cent weather station coverage across the country
In 2017 CCRIF provided a grant of US$100,000 to the Government of Belize to obtain 30 automated weather stations to provide the National Meteorological Service (NMS) with access to real-time rainfall data to improve the Government’s ability to monitor, record and forecast rainfall within Belize and better prepare the country and communities in general for hydro-meteorological events.
Before the installation of the new automated weather stations, NMS operated 20 manual weather stations. The new automated weather stations were installed at the same locations as the manual stations to enable data from the manual and automated stations to be compared, plus 10 additional locations. The new stations store data every 5 minutes and these data are transmitted to the NMS office every 30 minutes. This real-time flow of data allows the NMS forecasters and meteorologists to monitor and provide alerts in near real time during severe weather events such as the heavy rains which affected the country in July 2020.
Also under the project, the data loggers were upgraded at some of the most important locations such at the airstrips on San Pedro, Ranchito, Dangriga, Placencia and Punta Gorda. The National Met Service ensured that the spatial distribution of the stations could adequately capture the climate variability across Belize.
With the installation of the 30 CCRIF-funded stations the NMS now has an impressive number of working weather stations (52) with comprehensive spatial distribution across Belize. In a 2020 analysis of the regional hydro-meteorological network commissioned by CCRIF, the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) has estimated that 70 per cent of Belize is covered by rain gauges and/or automated weather stations – one of the highest rates among the 19 Caribbean CCRIF member countries.