Caribbean Summer Travel May Bring Hurricanes

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Hurricane season in the caribbeanTraveling to the Caribbean Soon? Prepare for a “Hurricane Guarantee”

Earlier predictions for this year’s hurricane season, from June 1 until November 30, were that it would be average. By June, however, the forecasters were calling for a slightly above average season, with 13 named storms, two of which were expected to be intense hurricanes. People in the southern states disagree with this assessment and fear that this year’s hurricane season will be one of the most active.  They note that warmer water temperatures, due to an unusually mild winter along the coast, could breed more storms than usual.

Hurricane season is always a cause for concern in the Caribbean.  Since the area’s prime industry is tourism, anything that hampers travel means less income. If you’re planning to travel to the Caribbean this year and are concerned about running into foul weather, here are some facts about hurricane season to keep in mind:

1. Not all of the Caribbean is at threat from hurricanes and tropical storms.  The principal hurricane belt arcs to northwest of Barbados in the Eastern Caribbean, which means that hurricanes usually strike northwards of Grenada and to the west of Barbados.   

2. Hurricanes are least likely to form in July.  This is because the region is dominated by strong easterly winds which arise from an intensifying high pressure system.  These winds push the warmer surface water toward the equator, leaving the colder water underneath to rise to the surface.  This colder water limits the formation of hurricanes.  

3. The peak of the season is in October.  This is when the surface ocean temperatures are warmer, particularly in the far southwestern region.  Add to that the increased rainfall from the monsoon and you have the perfect condition for forming a hurricane.

4. Which areas are more prone to hurricanes?  The French West Indies (i.e. Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Martin and St. Barthélemy) see the most activity – one hurricane typically passes nearby every three to four years. Guadeloupe is hardest hit, averaging one hurricane every 2.25 years.

5. So which islands are the safest?  Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada and Barbados are usually not in the path of hurricanes.  Another option is the ABC islands of the Netherland Antilles – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, off the northern coast of South America.

Some final advice

If you’re planning a Caribbean vacation in October, arrange for a “hurricane guarantee” for every stage of your trip. This guarantee will help you get free travel and accommodations in the event of a hurricane.  Make sure that the company issuing the guarantee is trustworthy.

Whether this year’s hurricane season will be above or below average has yet to be seen.  Weather forecasting has improved in recent years, but as we all know, Mother Nature is frequently very unpredictable. Plan your trip carefully and you can reduce the risk of danger.