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Practical > Weather

The weather
What can you expect on islands situated half way between the equator and the Cancer tropic, if not exceptionally mild weather ? Far from the cold, here it is summer all year round, or almost.
Before dedicating your holiday budget to a faraway destination, inquiring about the climatic conditions during the desired period is legitimate. Guadeloupe experience excellent weather conditions all year round with average temperatures of 20°C in the morning and 30°C in the afternoon. Here, there are two seasons not four. The rainy season, from June to November, is the humid season, due to the inter-tropical convergence, a zone of very humid low pressure which settles in the region. Rain is abundant during this period where November is the wettest and August is traditionally the driest month. From December to May, it is the period of the Carême, the dry season. June and October are transitional periods between these two systems. Although the temperature of the water is 27°C on average it can rise to 30°C in August and September.

Humidity is very important in the West Indies. Due to the exceptional sunlight, evaporation is high and many clouds form. Carried by the Alizés, blocked by the reliefs, they contribute to the significant watering of the Côtes au vent. And so, depending on where you may be, the weather presents significant differences. In the mountains, the temperature is lower and diminishes with altitude. The rain is abundant due to the many clouds that accumulate there. In the wind, protected by the foehn effect, the Carribean coast experiences mild rain. As for the flat parts of Guadeloupe such as Grande Terre and the chalk formed islands such as Marie-Galante, Saint Barth or Saint Martin are clearly less watered. So, Grande Terre records on average les than 2m of water per year, less than a meter in saint François compared to 10m at the Soufrière. This low pluviometry is a considerable asset for the bathing tourism which is concentated in the more fortunate zones.

As far as tourism is concerned, the low season is the equivalent of the rainy season. But as we have just said, a holiday in Saint François, Guadeloupe, Saint Barth or Saint Martin in the heart of the humid season will not be too risky for the quality of your suntan. Moreover, it is a particularly interesting period for tourists for more than one reason : prices are much lower, the beaches are deserted, and nature is exploding in a profusion of colours. The flamboyants which which set the sides of the roads and garden ablaze with their abundant bright red flowers are enchanting !

But in the heart of the rainy season, between August and the end of September the parenthesis of the cyclonic season starts. From the Caribbean word "Hurakan", which gave the English term "hurricane", the cyclone is a meteorological episode as awful as it is extraordinary.
On average, a cyclone of average importance is recorded every 5 years, and one to two big cyclones per century. Cyclones are accompanied by violent gusts of wind causing many trees to fall down. Torrential rain causes significant floods and landslides. On the coast, in the event of a very large swell, sometimes tidal waves can cause the sea to penetrate in land and cause floods. But today, most houses are built solidly and the tourists in hotels have nothing to worry about except losing some days with nice weather.

Cyclones are detected a long time in advance. As soon as the temperature of the Atlantic off the Cap Vert goes above 27°C, significant cloudy masses form and agglomerate whilst deriving to the west. Originally, moderate winds and rainy masses form a tropical depression. The phenomenon goes to tropical storm level as soon as winds vary between 63km/h and 117km/h. The storm is then given a name, normally exclusively feminine names, now alternating with masculine names following complaints from feminine leagues. Above 118km/h and it is called a hurricane. Alert levels are programmed to warn the population who are familiar with the instructions which are regularly broadcasted on television. Very often, it will just be an alert for security reasons as cyclones frequently change direction.

With more than 3000 hours of sun a year, good weather is almost guaranteed in the West Indies if you choose to come here. And bad weather never lasts long. So don't forget your suntan lotion!

To follow the evolution of cyclonic phenomenon : Sxmcyclone