West Indies and Caribbean climate

The Caribbean Islands enjoy warm sunny winters with afternoon temperatures averaging 29 °C (84 °F) generally, but as high as 31 °C (88 °F) in Jamaica. The average rainfall is about three inches (75 mm) per month, but this usually falls in thundery showers in the late afternoon or evening. Being low lying, and the most northerly group of Caribbean Islands, the Bahamas have a rather lower rainfall than the other islands.

Although May sees the commencement of the rainy season, amounts are small compared with those found in monsoon Asia. Again, the rain falls mostly as late showers, and is heavier on the mountains and north-east facing coasts. 22 or 23 dry days are typical, but Jamaica fares better with about 28 days. Nine or ten hours of sunshine can be expected, and typical maximum temperatures should be 30-31 °C (86-88 °F).

In summer, hurricanes can hit the Caribbean, although Trinidad & Tobago are too far south to be affected. Also, the Bahamas are rarely affected. The summers are hot and wet, although prolonged wet spells are uncommon. However, up to 20 inches (500 mm) of rain can fall during a 3-day hurricane. Daily average maximum temperatures can reach 32 °C (89 °F) in Jamaica, Trinidad and the Bahamas, but a couple of degrees lower elsewhere. However, these high temperatures are often accompanied by pleasant sea breezes, making sunbathing very pleasant indeed. Up to 10 hours of sunshine are normal, but often there are 15 or less dry days each month.

Tropical storms can still occur in the autumn months, but rarely after mid-October. Average maxima only begin to fall off slightly in November (29 °C - 84 °F), thus the region remains very pleasantly warm. 15-17 dry days can be expected each month, accompanied by 8-9 hours of sunshine.

Last updated: 17 December 2013