Martinique and the Caribbean chain of islands enjoy the cooling effect of the easterly trade winds most of the year, but this region is also subject to occasional hurricanes.
Though the weather is generally fair, mariners should pay attention to weather forecasts, particularly during the hurricane season, June through November.
Tropical hurricanes in the Caribbean generally develop from low pressure systems which move off the coast of Africa at a rate of about one a week. Some of these systems strengthen into tropical storms as they move westward across the South Atlantic, then northwest, east or west, of the Caribbean island chain toward the US.
Tropical systems are classified in three categories according to their strength :
Tropical Depressions :characterized by winds of less than 62 km/h (34 mph). Though the least destructive of the tropical systems, a number of tropical depressions develop into stronger system.
Tropical Storms : characterized by winds of 63 to 117 km/h (74 mph). After reaching 63 km/h, storms are named.
The names for the 2016 storm season are : Arlène, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, José, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, Whitney
Hurricanes : storms with winds greater than 117 km/h. These systems are very powerful and dangerous. Also known as cyclones in the Pacific, hurricane winds circulate around the center of the storm in a counter-clockwise direction. Hurricanes are further classified according to the strength of the winds and referred to category one through category five storms.
Although hurricanes are classified according to the wind strength, there are other dangers associated with these powerful storms :
Wind : as the storm passes, the storm winds change direction and can cause devastating damage from flying debris.as the storm passes, the storm winds change direction and can cause devastating damage from flying debris.
Rain : heavy rains commonly cause considerable erosion damage. Although hurricanes usually cause the most damage, slow moving tropical storms also cause great damage.
Tides : very high tides combined with a storm surge enhanced by the low barometric pressure associated with tropical storms and hurricanes commonly cause considerable damage.
Martinique was hit in recent years by two major phenomena that caused severe damage on the island :
August 27, 2007 : Dean, a category 2 hurricane that had its eye pass in the St.Lucia channel and the southern coasts of Martinique
October 16, 2008 : the strong storm surge induced by hurricane Omar totally destroyed the Bakou marina dock and restaurant at Trois-Ilets.
In 2006, new preparedness warnings were implemented based on the probability of tropical storm or hurricane danger in geographic areas. These advisories are based on predicted storm paths and should be used with caution.
• YELLOW advisory : passage of the phenomenon still imprecise (distant), or nearer with weak effects expected. Be alert !
• ORANGE advisory : possible danger still at a distance but strong effects expected, or likely danger nearer with moderate effects expected. Get prepared !
• RED advisory : very likely danger nearby, or storm further away with major effects expected. Find a shelter !
• PURPLE advisory : imminent danger continues, remain inside. Do not go out !
• GREY advisory : danger has passed or weakened. Be cautious !
Weather forecasts and broadcasts
Broadcast times are given in local time.
Broadcasts in English
(Caribbean shortwave Selection)
Eric, Trinidad Emergency Net 9Z4CP, 6:30am on 3855 kHz LSB/ham.
George, KP2G Caribbean Weather Net, 7:30am on 7086 kHz LSB/ham and Caribbean Cocktail & Wheather Net at 4:30pm on 7086 kHz LSB/ham.
Chris , Caribbean Weather, 9:30am on 12350 kHz USB.
Broadcasts in German
Hugo,German Security and Weather frequency, 9am on 8140 kHz.