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How’s the Weather?

Montserrat has a pleasant climate, barring the occasional tropical storm. Unlike the continental US, where winds are primarily from the west, the Island receives the Trade Winds, which blow pretty consistently from the east, from the direction of North and Equatorial Africa. I’m a plant guy, not a weather guy, but plants need water so I am attuned to the weather perhaps more than most people (like my wife Carolyn, for example).

Winter—say, December or January through May, is the dry season, when temperatures are generally in the 70’s and rain is infrequent. June through August become warmer, into the 80’s, with more rain and the possibility of tropical storms and even hurricanes increasing as you approach September. (While it’s possible to have a hurricane in the Lesser Antilles in July and August, it’s rare.) The big tropical storms that affect Montserrat originate off the coast of Africa and pick up steam (literally) as they move eastward across the warm water of late summer. September is the prime month for hurricanes, with some in October and rarely in November.

As an example, it’s October 15, 2014, and Tropical Storm Gonzalo just formed to the east of Montserrat, and mostly passed to the north of Montserrat, giving us some much-appreciated rain but no damage. These storms are big, but so is the Caribbean. Even though you can see Antigua from Montserrat, it had more wind and thus some storm damage. It continued toward the Virgin Islands, and has turned into a strong hurricane, now heading north toward Bermuda.

All that said, I’m at my office in Maryland and today we are expecting strong winds and three to four inches of rain which will cause flash flooding, and this is just a strong cold front passing through. So weather can be fickle no matter where you are.

As we get into November and then December, the weather cools back to the 70’s and rain becomes more infrequent. Part-time residents like us poke our noses into the air, and like the groundhog, see winter approaching and we start packing our suitcases for a return to the Island that we love.

Because of the pretty much constant breeze and the mild temperatures for much of the year, homes seldom have air conditioning unless they are in a sheltered location. It’s seldom needed, and electricity is so expensive here, that you would be loathe to turn it on. We find that the ceiling fans and table fans suffice for us in the summer, and we are both office muffins used to controlled climates at home in the US. Plus: it’s amazing how a quick dip in the pool can cool you off. If you want AC go to Florida, where you actually need it. Think of sleeping with the windows open, listening to the tree frogs and the pearly-eyed thrashers and the feral roosters as part of the Big Adventure. Beats the hummmmm of an air conditioner. Larry

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