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5 important facts about hurricanes (in the Caribbean)

Hurricanes are large, swirling storms. Every year from June until December it is hurricane season. Once a hurricane forms, weather forecasters predict its path. They also predict how strong it will get. There are five categories of hurricanes (1-5) and their based-on wind speed. Hurricane season 2017 was extremely active; Hurricane Irma (category 5) was one of the most powerful storms in history. This is what you should know about hurricanes (in the Caribbean).

Hurricane season peaks in September

From June till December it is hurricane season. Hurricane season peaks in September when the heaviest ones strike. In September 2018 many Caribbean Islands suffered devastating damage by hurricane Irma, Jose and Maria. Sint Maarten, Barbuda, Dominica and Puerto Rico were hit the hardest. However, a great part of the Caribbean is still very accessible and as beautiful and untouched as before. 30 Caribbean islands are fully operating and ready to welcome visitors. By traveling to one of these islands you are supporting the region. Curacao is waiting for you!

What is the hurricane belt?

All of those islands struck by hurricanes are in the hurricane belt; an area in the Atlantic Ocean which is likely to get hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season. Curacao is outside the hurricane belt. More inhabited Caribbean islands outside the hurricane belt besides Curacao are Aruba, Bonaire, Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Providencia Island, San Andrés, and the islands off Venezuela.

Birthplace of hurricanes

Chances are, we might experience more and heavier hurricanes in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Eastern Pacific Ocean in the future. And although the Sahara Desert is very dry and hurricanes are very wet, they are of influence. Hurricanes are born in storm systems off the west coast of northern Africa. The scientific reason why, is because of Africa’s Sahara Desert dust storms and the transition of thunderstorms off the west coast of Africa (near Cape Verde). The waters in the North Atlantic Ocean are typically at their warmest while the Sahara is at its hottest from July through October, so the chances of a hurricane are highest during these months (often in September).

Hurricanes and global warming

The movement of hot and cold air, creates dangerous storms. They are rotating heat engines powered by warm water; the second ingredient a hurricane needs. That is also why Hurricanes are inherent to global warming and why it is such a threat. We all need to be more concerned about climate change and encourage sustainability, also in the travel industry. Global warming is not helping a calm hurricane season, making sustainable tourism more important than ever!


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Curacao and hurricanes

Curacao is one of those islands that is generally not hit by hurricanes. Curacao tends to be warmer than usual on the island during hurricane season. That's because the hurricanes elsewhere take all the wind, with the result that there is less wind here, which causes additional heat. The last hurricane that struck Curacao was in September 23, 1877. As no official names of hurricanes were given during that time, this heavy storm was known locally as Hurricane "Tecla" or "Orkan Grandi" (meaning big hurricane in the Papiamento language).


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