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Aphrodite’s MagazineHurricanes in the Caribbean
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Hurricanes in the Caribbean

Hurricanes, the danger of water and wind

Hurricanes are also called typhoons in East and Southeast Asia and in the northwestern part of the Pacific. In the Indian Ocean and (west) South Pacific, they are cyclones.

Image: Flooding


Hurricanes are hurricanes that form when the water temperature exceeds 26.5 °C and can pose a great danger to vacationers and the hotels in the affected areas. A hurricane can reach wind speeds of over 300 km/h, often accompanied by torrential rain, storm surges and coastal erosion.

On coasts, high waves (up to 5 m or higher) are pushed onto land and cause flooding. There is great danger from flying objects that are carried away by the storm.

Image: Storm

Tropical storm or hurricane?

One speaks of a hurricane when a storm has reached a wind speed of more than 118 km/h. The hurricane is called a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir Simpson scale. These hurricanes are category 1 hurricanes on the Saffir Simpson scale.

From a wind speed of 250 km/h, they are category 5 hurricanes. Inside the hurricane, in the so-called eye, there is almost no wind, and on the outer edges of the eye there are the highest wind speeds and the most rain.

A hurricane can be over 500 km in diameter and cover a large area. The eye is between 20 and 80 km.

Despite the high wind speeds, hurricanes move forward only 10 - 30 km/h, sometimes even standing on the spot, which brings an even higher degree of destruction.

Over land, the violence of hurricanes weakens as they lack the energy of warm water.

Image: Hurricane recorded from space

Mostly only tropical storms

Most storms remain tropical storms throughout their course. For example, in 2020, 11 storms occurred from mid-May to the end of August, two of which were category 1 hurricanes. In late August through late September, 12 storms occurred, including two hurricanes each in categories 1, 2, and 4.

From the end of September to the end of November, there were nine storms, including one Category 2,3 and 5 hurricane each and two Category 4 hurricanes.

In 2020, there were a total of 32 storms, most of them tropical storms and 14 hurricanes. Three hurricanes reached the coast of the Riviera Maya. Two the Dominican Republic. In 2019, there were fewer, 20 storms, most again tropical storms and six hurricanes.

No one can predict whether a tropical storm will become a hurricane, what course it will take, or how long it will last. There is also the possibility that a hurricane weakens on the water and becomes a tropical storm again.

One thing is for sure though, all hurricanes end up as a tropical storm that weakens into a depression. These can move up to Europe. Information on current hurricanes in the Caribbean can be found on the radar screen of the National Hurricane Centers

Recommendation travel insurance

We generally recommend that you take out travel insurance that covers trip interruption. Do not rely on any existing insurance on your credit cards, which often contain only a standard coverage. Make sure that your insurance covers the return transfer in the event of a hurricane in the destination area.

In the event of a delayed or canceled flight

Hotels are not to blame for a hurricane. In case of early departure, some hotels do not refund the unused days of stay. This is also true when you arrive. If you arrive later because your flight is delayed or does not take off at all and is canceled, often booked services at the resort are not insured and in the case of a hurricane, these costs are not covered by the airlines either.

What happens if a hurricane occurs during the vacation?

The hotels all have a hurricane emergency plan. It is imperative to follow the hotel's instructions. Guests are accommodated in hurricane-proof buildings.

What is a hurricane?

A hurricane (also called typhoon or cyclone) is a cyclone with wind speeds of at least 118 km/h.

How does a hurricane form?

A hurricane develops when the water temperature is at least 26.5° C. The water evaporates and moves by convection into higher layers of air, where it then forms large clouds by evaporation. Above the water, a negative pressure is created, which pulls more humid air masses upwards, further heating the process and releasing more and more energy. In the center, the cold air sinks. This process loses energy when the water temperature cools down or when the hurricane hits land.

When do hurricanes occur in the Caribbean?

Mostly tropical storms occur in the Caribbean from May onwards. The official hurricane season is from June 01 to November 30. Most hurricanes occur in August and September.

How many hurricanes are there per year?

The number cannot be predicted. In 2017 there were ten hurricanes, in 2018 eight, in 2019 another six and in 2020 13. You can easily find out for yourself the number of hurricanes in a year so far, because they are named alphabetically, so a hurricane starting with A would be the first this year and a hurricane starting with F would already be the sixth.

How long does a hurricane last?

Depending on what kind of hurricane it is, a hurricane can last between four and 21 days. During this time it always moves on.