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Hurricanes, Tropical Storms, and Depressions
Barbados lies just south of the central hurricane belt, however, the island has not experienced any significant storms since Hurricane Janet in 1955.
Hurricane Season In Barbados
The hurricane season in Barbados is also known as the wet season and occurs during the ‘summer’ months of June to November. During this time, September and October tend to be when there is the highest hurricane risk for Barbados, and are therefore also the most humid months on the island.
November has the most rainfall; however, it tends to fall in quick bursts of showers, with more extended periods of rain settling in overnight and into the early hours of the morning.
Don’t be too disheartened; it’s often a welcome relief from the hot and humid weather that is typical for that time of year.
God is a Bajan
There’s a local saying in Barbados that ‘God is a Bajan‘. Why may you ask?
Barbados has been spared the direct hit of a hurricane for many, many years, while our neighboring Caribbean isles receive the full brunt of the hurricane season.
Tropical Storms and Depressions
During the hurricane season in Barbados, there is always the chance of rain, tropical depressions, and tropical storms.
— A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case, within the next 24 hours.
— A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.
— A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
What’s the difference between a depression and a storm?
Clouds and thunderstorms characterize a tropical depression with moderate winds that have the potential to strengthen and organize into a tropical storm.– Tropical storm status happens when maximum sustained winds reach 40 mph. The naming of the storm takes place at this stage.
When a hurricane does develop in the region, they primarily originate off the African coast and intensify as they cross the Atlantic Ocean towards Barbados. By the time they reach the island, weather warnings have been canceled altogether, or they have been downgraded to a mild to moderate tropical storm.
Due to the island’s unique easterly location, it’s not uncommon for the major weather systems that appear to be heading directly towards the island to move above or below Barbados at the last minute.
Nevertheless, when the tropical weather conditions do arrive, they tend not to last very long and only bring moderate winds and rainfall.
During most tropical storms we’ve experienced on the island, there is not too much severe damage to property and infrastructure, and because of the porous nature of our limestone island, combined with the ever-present Caribbean sun, everything dries up pretty quickly – as if it never even happened!
In the event of a severe tropical storm warning, the Barbados Government pro-actively closes all businesses, significant roadways and travel ports, however, this is a rare occurrence.
Barbados has been spared the direct hit of hurricanes many times in the past. However, we still have numerous well-maintained hurricane shelters and emergency organizations, should we be forecast for a direct hit.
Should a hurricane blow towards our shores, it’s reassuring to know that Barbados is ready and protected.
There was a case in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan, a category five hurricane, was looming offshore and Barbados was going to get a direct hit.
In a dramatic turn of events, at barely the ninety-ninth hour, Ivan made a drastic southerly turn and passed a mere eighty miles off our shores with sustained winds recorded at one hundred and fifteen miles per hour. There was some roof damage on the southern end of the island, but once again we escaped the wrath while our neighbors in Grenada lost everything.
So, it’s easy to see why they call Barbados such a blessed little island – come and see for yourself.
Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow their businesses online with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.