I am still getting use to being the “weather man” among my friends, but always enjoy it when I am asked for advice about the weather. This question comes from a friend who is getting married this summer and is planning a honeymoon to St. Lucia in August *gulp*. I was asked when I thought the earliest a hurricane would threaten the small Caribbean island. Most of us know that it is impossible to forecast a hurricane this far out, but I thought this would be a good time to do some in-depth research on the islands history with hurricanes. It could spark some good conversation about the upcoming hurricane season as well.
Most of the storms that have been recorded since the mid-1800’s were of the tropical storm intensity. A total of 58 storms have hit or skirted by St. Lucia island, and 24 of those occurred in the month of August. As the graphic depicts, only 20% of the storms were hurricanes the strongest being a category 4 storm that hit in 1980. The geographical location of St. Lucia actually benefits the island in that many storms do not have enough time to develop into strong hurricanes by virtue of being closer to the equator that other locations.
The bad news for my friend is that tropical storms/hurricanes usually make landfall on August 15th, that’s averaged out among all the storms that either skirted or made landfall on the island. That day just happens to fall in the week that she was planning. More bad news: the island is impacted by a storm about every 3 years. Guess when the last storm impacted St. Lucia? If you guessed 2007, you win. It was actually on August 17th when Hurricane Dean passed between a neighboring island and St. Lucia with 100 mile per hour winds. So what will this season bring? Thoughts and predictions?