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Curaçao - Hurricane Free

Hurricane Warning!


One of the worst messages to flash across your phone during a Caribbean vacation. These two words hold the power to wash away your dream vacation, along with the thousands of hard earned dollars it took to get you there.

I would not wish to experience the frustration of having a vacation interrupted by a hurricane or even a tropical storm. Yet, every year this happens for hundreds of thousands of tourists in the Caribbean from June to November.

2017 was a particularly difficult year having an early start in April, thanks to Tropical Storm Arlene (April 19), and extended into November with Tropical Storm Rina (November 9). The NOAA (National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration) reported a total of 17 named storms, 10 of which became hurricanes, six of them major. On April 12, 2018 it was announced that that the World Meteorological Association has retired four names from the rotating list of storm names..

It was a devastating year for many of the residents of the Caribbean and the rebuilding of homes and lives continues. The approaching 2018 hurricane season brings with it two main questions: “Is the upcoming hurricane season going to be as devastating as last years?” and “Is it a good idea to book a Curaçao vacation?”

The answer to the first question is that we do not know what the 2018 hurricane season will bring, though we will look at the early predictions; The answer to the second question is more straight forward…. Booking a Curaçao vacation is always a good idea.

2018 Hurricane Predictions.

In May, the NOAA (of which the National Hurricane Center is a part) will be providing their annual predictions for the 2018 Atlantic/Caribbean hurricane season. On April 5 the Colorado State University issued their forecast calling for a slightly above average hurricane season for the Atlantic (and therefore the Caribbean). They forecast 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes (category three or above). The Colorado State forecast team predicts that the Caribbean has a 52% chance of experiencing one major storm.

Dr. Jeff Master, of Weather Underground, reports that the annual average from 1981 - 2010 were 12 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes.

Reasons for An Above Average Hurricane Season

There are two primary reasons for the prediction of an above average hurricane season:

1) The lack of an El Niño in the Pacific (an unusually warm band of water off the coast of South America). Though the Pacific and Atlantic are completely different bodies of water, what happens in the Pacific impacts the weather in the Caribbean and Atlantic. The absence of an El Niño results in decreased upper level winds traveling east across the Caribbean and southern US. The upper level winds, when present, draw the energy out of the top of a tropical storm or hurricane and, in essence, tear it apart. Without the El Niño (other conditions being ideal) low pressure systems traveling west from Africa have little difficulty developing into tropical storms and then into hurricanes.

2) The warmer than usual sea surface temperatures in the western Atlantic combined with cooler than usual sea surface temperatures in the eastern Atlantic, results in low pressure systems being drawn west across the Atlantic towards the coast of the US and the Caribbean. The warm water of the western Atlantic and Caribbean act as fuel for the development of storms.

The Impact

The impact is that 2018 has the potential of being a difficult year for much of the Caribbean. We may see a series of storms march west across the islands of the Caribbean causing devastation much like 2017.

Hurricane Free Curaçao

The beautiful island of Curaçao is situated only 12 degrees or approximately 1300 km (800 miles) north of the equator and about 65 km (40 miles) off the coast of South America. This results in its weather being impacted more by South America than by systems moving west across the Atlantic. It is within the “Southern Caribbean Dry Zone.”

Though some people describe Curaçao as outside the hurricane zone, the island is on the southern fringe of the hurricane zone. In 2016 the Meteorological Department of Curaçao produced a paper on the history of hurricanes and tropical storms in the Dutch Caribbean and reported that roughly every 100 years considerable damage is done by hurricanes passing close to the island (sometimes to the south) and that approximately every four years a hurricane passes within 150 kilometers (90 miles).

The analysis shows that only 16 named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes) have passed within 120 nautical miles (222 km) of the island and no storm, hurricane or tropical storm has made landfall on Curaçao.

The result is that your vacation while on Curaçao is at very low risk of being impacted by a storm. Regardless of the weather through the rest of the Caribbean, you can book a Curaçao vacation with peace of mind.

The island of Curaçao has been gifted with ideal year-round vacation weather. Any time can be Curaçao time!

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