Hurricane season in the Caribbean Islands starts in June and runs till the end of November. The Caribbean is known for being prone to hurricanes due to its warm waters and moist air during the summer months. Early in the season the Gulf of Mexico experiences warming quicker than other parts of the Atlantic. As storm system start to travel westward from the Atlantic coastline of Africa, storms grow in intensity and threaten the Caribbean seas. The faster the warm air rises, the more powerful the winds and potential devastation to its coastal communities.
Through the years, trends have been formed with hurricanes in the Caribbean. At the beginning of the season in June, most hurricanes occur in the western Caribbean. By the end of summer, the occurrence of hurricanes tends to spread throughout most of the other parts of the region. The season becomes stronger in October. This is when the surface temperature is at its warmest and the strongest hurricanes occur in the Caribbean.
When is the Best Time to Go on a Caribbean Cruise?
Keeping the Caribbean hurricane season in mind, the peak time for Caribbean cruises is December through April. The weather is relatively dry and sunny, with low humidity and cooler nights.
If you prefer the summer months, then look to travel to the Southern Caribbean from July to September. Several Caribbean islands that are far enough south can be considered as safe from the hurricane belt and can be traveled during the mid-summer and early fall months.
Hot Spots for Hurricanes in Caribbean Islands
As the waters start to warm at the beginning of the hurricane season, you can get away with visiting certain parts of the Caribbean Islands with little risk. Many of these patterns regularly occur year after year. June and July tend to be the most active on the western side of the Gulf of Mexico. By August and September, the eastern Caribbean seas start to see increased activity. Some Islands affected are the Northern Windward Islands such as St. Lucia and St. Vincent, the Leeward Islands such as the Virgin Islands, St. Martin, and Guadeloupe Islands, and the Greater Antilles such as Cuba, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and the Dominican Republic. By the end of the Caribbean hurricane season in October and November, the Western Caribbean and Southwest coastline experience the most activity.
Hurricanes are not evenly distributed across the Caribbean Islands. They prefer to follow a path that takes them away from the Earth’s equator. This is why Aruba, Bona-ire, and Curaçao are least likely to experience a hurricane. Out of all the regions, the south-eastern part has the least amount and the north-east region of the Bahamas has the most.
Caribbean Islands Least Affected by Hurricanes
Many Caribbean Islands exist south of the hurricane belt and are considered safe to travel to during the hurricane season. These include Trinidad, Tobago, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Barbados, Grenada, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines. While hurricanes may not be prominent in some of these areas, they may experience heavy rainfall during the fall months.
The month of July is the one month where hurricanes are least likely to form in the south-western region due to the dominating easterly winds that make the climate drier. This can lead to even drought-like conditions. The warmer surface is pushed further to towards the equator leaving the colder waters in the southern part of the Caribbean seas.
Should You Visit the Caribbean Islands During Hurricane Season?
An average of eight hurricanes forms in the Caribbean seas each year. Ninety-nine percent of hurricanes in the Caribbean move from east to west. The good news is that the Caribbean is considered to be less risky than even that of the Gulf Coast region in the United States.
There is an estimated two to three percent chance that a visitor in the Caribbean will be affected by a hurricane during a one- or two-week trip. With more than one million square miles of the Caribbean Sea, a hurricane only affects a small part of the region at any one point in time. Stay closest to the islands off the coastlines of South America to experience fewer hurricanes. You can still visit world-class scuba diving destinations, enjoy popular music and culture, or sit on the unsullied beaches outside the Caribbean hurricane belt. Just make sure to buy travel insurance in case you end up receiving that warning or alert for an oncoming tropical storm