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Cayman Islands

Grand Cayman Hurricane Season Tips

Caribbean cloudsGrand Cayman has a hurricane season like many Caribbean islands. But also like many islands, Grand Cayman rarely has a direct hit of a hurricane or the less serious tropical storm.

The Cayman Islands haven’t had “direct hits” of tropical storms and hurricanes since 2008, according to the National Meteorological Service of the Cayman Islands government. The Cayman islands consist of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.

The Paloma category IV hurricane in November was the most serious with maximum winds of 135 miles per hour. As someone who has walked outside during a hurricane, I can testify that such winds can knock a person over.

Gustav, a milder category I hurricane, took place in August. It had maximum winds of 94 miles per hour, the Cayman meteorological service says. Tropical storm Fay with maximum winds of 52 miles per hour also hit the Caymans in August 2008.

Previous direct hits over the last 25 years happened in 2004, 2002 and 1998.

The fact that the Cayman islands have had only four years in the last 25 indicates that they are somewhat rare.

Hurricane Season Travel Planning

The official Caribbean hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30 every year. Hurricanes and tropical storms gradually increase in number from a low point in June to a high point in September and October.

Anyone who plans to visit Grand Cayman during hurricane season should consider not so much the risk of a dangerous hurricane or tropical storm. The odds of a direct hit are low. Instead, they should consider the risk of rain during that time.

Grand Cayman has a dry season every year from December through April. The average rainfall each year jumps to more than 5 inches a month historically in May and climbs to more than eight inches in September and October.

Summer weather systems “tend to bring a day or two of cloudiness, heavy showers and thundershowers during their passage and strong southeast winds after their passage,” the meteorological service says.

As someone who has traveled through the Caribbean many times including Grand Cayman, I can say that bad weather during hurricane season is not always a given.

When hurricanes and tropical storms do move into it from the eastern Atlantic, they bring wide paths of rain and clouds. But direct hits and damaging weather are usually rare.

So vacationers should know that the Grand Cayman hurricane season is a risk for any travel plans. But it shouldn’t keep visitors away if they decide to travel during the summer. The risk is lowest from May through August and highest in September and October.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
August 24, 2020

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