Sunday, June 16, 2013

St. Kitts 2013: A Brand New Hurricane Season

I'm approaching just over my ninth month here in St. Kitts and what a great time it's been. I haven't written too many post about the weather because I hate making assumptions or conclusions about the weather until I've been here an entire year's cycle.

Photo Courtesy: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/11/complaint-box-weather-forecasts/
I've been watching it nonetheless, but every time I think I have it figured out, it changes. Well sort of. The weather here is pretty stable temperature-wise, but there are times of the year when we get more rain, or less wind, or it gets really hot.

I wrongly assumed that beginning in the winter months was when our rainy season started. Wrong! I arrived in late August and it was scorching hot with very little wind and not much rain, making for a miserable sweaty day. Event the locals said it was unusually hot and stagnant.

This was what our forecast looked like when we arrived in August:

Photo Courtesy: http://heatherchristenaschmidt.com/2011/10/05/why-i-hate-tom-skilling/
Around the end of November the temperature started to drop, the wind picked up, and I told Julie, "You know what. I just realized I'm not sweating nearly every waking hour of the day." I truly was and didn't even realize it after awhile.

By late December the night time temperatures were dropping below 70 degrees! I know right? It never really gets much below 70, even at night. So to clear things up for everyone else and in my own mind here is a chart that shows you our yearly precipitation averages:


The weather has been pretty pleasant since December and just recently started to reach around 87 degrees in the day time. It goes to show you that you can't go by what students, expats, or anyone tells you about what the weather will do. I kept hearing that as soon as the spring months come the breeze will stop and it will be scorching. The breeze hasn't really stopped yet and it's now June. Hmm.


It has been raining almost every day for the past month or so and I've made this correlation: If it's raining here, it's usually cooler because the clouds and overcast skies block out the sun, which by itself can heat things up really quickly.

We did have a short period of drought around February if my mental clock is correct. It didn't rain for weeks, everything turned brown, and I would often go outside at 10 p.m. to water my garden in the dark. Also, since we live close to the top of a hill where water basins are kept, our water would often be turned off right before dinner almost every day by the Water Authority to conserve water.

As I said though, the rain picked up in the past month to nearly every day and we now have plenty of water. Everything is green, the flowers are blooming, and the downtown open-air markets are well stocked.

Rain Clouds moving in over Basseterre recently.
 But, don't celebrate too soon because the 2013 Hurricane Season has already begun. The weather "professionals," if you will, give a prediction of an "Above-normal hurricane season." According to The National Hurricane Center, or NHC they expect us to have between 13 to 20 unnamed storms, with between seven and eleven of these expected to become hurricanes. Well guys, it only takes one to ruin the party or cause terrible devastation.

This season has already had its first hurricane, Andrea, in the west so look out for these ladies and gentleman soon, as the water temperature heats up and conditions become favorable for storms to form: Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.

If you're a regular reader here please go to the links section where you will find links to many helpful weather and hurricane devoted sites, one of which I write for now, as a local hurricane correspondent. Cool title huh? This is the site www.stormcarib.com On the site you'll find some awesome, up-to-date information and some of the coolest maps I've ever seen.

So isn't that cool how our weather here is directly related to the http://www.stormcarib.com/goes.htmwinds that blow off the Sahara Desert? Cool! Photo Courtesy: http://www.stormcarib.com/goes.htm
In the meantime, keep your eyes on the radar, enjoy the breeze while it's here, and stock up on bottles of water or anything else you think you may need for the upcoming season. Can't wait! :)