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WEATHER ADVISORY: Hurricane Fred Moves Slowly Toward Caribbean, May Weaken
At 5 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time on Monday, the center of Hurricane Fred was located near latitude 17.2 North, longitude 24.6 West in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Islands, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Tropical storms and hurricanes usually form in the eastern Atlantic and move west toward the Caribbean. The Cape Verde Islands are 2,500 miles east of Antigua. At its current speed, Fred will reach the eastern Caribbean in about nine days unless it deteriorates or changes direction.
Fred is moving toward the northwest near 12 mph (19 km/h) and this motion is expected to continue through tonight. A turn toward the west-northwest is expected on Tuesday. On the forecast track, the center of Fred is expected to pass near or over the northwestern Cape Verde Islands through early tonight, and then move away from the Cape Verde Islands on Tuesday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph (130 km/h) with higher gusts. Weakening is forecast during the next couple of days, however, Fred is expected to remain a hurricane while it passes near the northwestern Cape Verde Island early tonight.
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km).
A tropical depression has wind speeds up to 39 miles per hour. A tropical storm has wind speeds between 39 and 73 miles per hour. A hurricane's wind speeds average more than 73 miles per hour.
Eastern Caribbean islands are more popular during late spring and summer because they reach their ideal temperatures.
March is usually one of the most popular times of the year to visit the Caribbean.
The average rainfall is low during April, but many locations have a brief rainy season during May.
Average high temperatures spike above 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer for several popular destinations including Aruba, Cancun, Cozumel and the Cayman Islands.
June 1 is the official beginning of the Caribbean hurricane season, although June historically has few hurricanes or tropical storms. July sees an increase in activity, and it goes up even more in August.
Clearly the worst time to go -- and least popular -- are the peak months of the Caribbean hurricane season in September and October.
September is the low point for Caribbean tourism because that month historically has the highest average rainfall and the most tropical storms and hurricanes.
Bad weather subsides a bit in October, but it still is the second worst month of the year for rain and the second most unpopular month for tourism.
The Caribbean in December begins the dry season for many locations, especially in the western Caribbean.
As a result, western Caribbean cruises zoom in popularity as vacationers flock to the major ports of call in Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Roatan and Cozumel.
December through March is a popular time to travel in the Caribbean for low risk of rain and as an escape from northern winters, but it also has the lowest average temperatures of the year.
Tourism increases during March in particular because of spring break for many schools.
Destinations in the northern parts of the Caribbean will have cooler waters for swimming, but places closer to the equator will be comfortable.
Temperatures are moderate for the islands, which hit highs in the 90s during the summer, and the Central American countries don't have the drenching rains that hit later in the year.
Caribbean weather is known for more than just warm and sunny days. It's also known for an annual hurricane season that runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
The hurricane season averages about 12 to 15 tropical storms each year, some of which develop into hurricanes.
June and November have only about one storm each on average, while July through September average several storms with an average of two becoming hurricanes. October averages up to four storms but few hurricanes.
Most vacationers do not experience bad weather because of the size of the Caribbean, the path of the storms or the fact that they visit the Caribbean when storms don't occur.
Visits to the Caribbean reach a low point in September and October because those months have the highest total rainfall.