By Aaron Humes: Belize has been given a further 86 thousand dollars in grants to further enhance its early warning systems for extreme rainfall events from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF).
The first grant of US$100,000 was given in 2017 and facilitated the purchase of 30 new automatic weather stations that were installed throughout the country, improving national rainfall monitoring network coverage to 70 percent. The next grant will fund air temperature sensors on the country’s 52 weather stations, enclosures for these sensors, additional rain gauges as well as protective “bird spikes” for all the gauges. The addition of the air temperature sensors will contribute to increasing the number of weather and climate variables that can be monitored by the National Meteorological Service of Belize.
The stations send real-time data to the Met in Ladyville which helps forecasters and meteorologists to monitor and provide alerts to the population on severe weather events, helping to reduce damage from floods, hurricanes, and so on.
According to Chief Meteorologist Ronald Gordon, the new installations allow his office to better monitor these two important variables in real-time across much of the country. This will, in turn, enhance our ability to, among other things, alert residents of the potential for flooding from heavy rainfall events as well as provide more data for a more detailed and reliable analysis of climatic trends across Belize.