Travelers can’t predict the future when planning a vacation but being aware of potential disruptions to a travel plan is always beneficial. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recently forecasted that the hurricane season in Jamaica for 2022 will be more active than typical years past. For Jamaica, hurricane season starts on June 1st and ends on November 30th. While this period avoids the high season of travel that runs from mid-December to April, it can still spell trouble for travelers who enjoy Jamaica in the off-season.
According to the NOAA, 14 to 21 tropical storms are expected for the season. Of those storms, anywhere from 6 to 10 are anticipated to turn into hurricanes with winds of 74 miles per hour and above. If the NOAA’s prediction holds for 2022, it will be the seventh consecutive year of above-average hurricane activity.
Several factors were highlighted by the NOAA that will contribute to the higher-than-average activity this hurricane season. Higher than average ocean surface temperatures, weaker trade winds, the La Niña weather phenomenon, and increased monsoon rains in western Africa were all contributing factors cited by the NOAA as having a substantial effect on the increase in hurricane activity for the upcoming season. The increase in monsoon rains causes a strong increase in African tropical waves, which is an influential factor in the strength and the duration of hurricanes in the Caribbean.
For locals and visitors to Jamaica, the best outcome for the 2022 hurricane season would be a complete avoidance of a hurricane making landfall at all. However, proper planning is paramount since it is impossible to know what the future holds.
For travelers, this means booking with providers that offer good cancellation benefits, picking travel insurance that covers hurricane disruptions, or even booking with a resort that provides a hurricane guarantee. For locals, this means following recommendations set forth by the local authorities, such as storing extra food, trimming trees, and keeping first aid supplies on hand.
Jamaica has had a long history with hurricanes and is no stranger to the havoc they can wreak. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed 85% of the banana crop in Jamaica which severely disrupted the industry. In 2007, Hurricane Dean caused over $5 Billion in losses in the housing sector, with 29,000 housing units being damaged across the country. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan left 18,000 people homeless, took the lives of 17 people, and washed away roads with mudslides and flooding. No stranger indeed.
For travelers interested in going to Jamaica during the hurricane season, below are some tips to ensure a smooth experience no matter what the weather brings:
- Pack the Perfect Carry-On: Bad weather can spell trouble for luggage, so ensure that you have all the essentials in your checked bag to get you through baggage delays.
- Bring Emergency Supplies: Flashlights, a first aid kit, a battery-powered radio, and local currency cash are wonderful additions to a travel emergency kit.
- Check Weather Reports Often: Before heading off, take a moment to get up to date on the latest weather predictions to decide whether or not to move forward with travel plans.
- Purchase Travel Insurance: This is one of the best things you can do when it comes to being prepared for a hurricane when it comes to travel. Make sure your policy includes trip cancellation coverage before committing to any one policy.
Jamaica is a beautiful destination sought by travelers from all over the world. It was recently revealed that the country is the most booked destination in the Caribbean for travelers coming out of the United States this upcoming summer. For all the beauty and allure the country holds, the downside (at no fault of its own) of residing in the hurricane belt can be forgiven. Travelers wishing to visit Jamaica are advised to keep an eye on the upcoming hurricane season and make their plans accordingly.
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