Hurricane season in the Dominican Republic

Surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Hispaniola (Haiti on our maps) is the perfect beach destination. The Dominican Republic, which occupies two-thirds of its area, is one of the most popular tourist destinations. You can relax here at any time of the year, and even during the hurricane season.

When is hurricane season in the Dominican Republic?

Hurricanes are common in the Caribbean. The hurricane season in the Dominican Republic is from June to October. The strongest in recent years were Irma and Maria, which in 2017 fell on the country within one month. But if these hurricanes almost completely destroyed the neighboring islands and states, then in the DR there were no significant disasters. Here the element passed only by torrential showers and strong gusts of wind. It’s all about an extremely favorable geographical position – usually the cyclon comes from the west, so it is believed that the western part of the island, on which the state of Haiti is located, is more at risk.

As a lot of people think, that it is really worth fearing the hurricane season in the DR, or monsoon. Gusty winds begin to rage on the islands in August, and often become a real natural disaster. Thus, traveling can be not only uncomfortable, but also life-threatening. Usually, if suddenly there is some desperate traveler who wants to get to the Dominican Republic during hurricanes, any travel agency will dissuade him or her and warn about the possible consequences.

Yes, in August, September and October, sometimes it is better to skip the trip to the Dominican Republic, as it rains much more. In addition, hurricane winds come to the islands. The period from August to November is considered a real off-season here, and often brings a lot of troubles and troubles to the locals.

The peak of hurricanes occurs in August and September. In October, there are fewer of them, but this month is still considered unfavorable for visiting the resort. No one can guarantee that a strong storm or typhoon will not break out in October. In addition, the monsoon season adversely affects health due to high air humidity. During this period, the tropical heat becomes a real test for the body.

Hurricanes, cyclones and tropical storms in the DR

Caribbean hurricane season

Caribbean hurricane season

The meteorological centers of the Caribbean and the United States track tropical cyclones from the very moment they form, which is approximately 7-10 days before they reach the Caribbean. In this case, several scenarios are possible:

  • A tropical cyclone will disappear before it reaches the Caribbean – this is the most common variant. During the Atlantic hurricane season, about 10 to 15 cyclones are formed, and this is how they walk across the Atlantic and do not bring any inconvenience. Some of them even develop into tropical depressions and tropical storms, but things do not go any further and poses no danger to the Caribbean.
  • A tropical cyclone turns into a hurricane and sweeps across the Caribbean. On average, approximately two tropical cyclones per season develop into the hurricane category. Hurricanes are also different, in strength from 1 to 5 points, which measure their danger to people. Hurricanes of the highest category do not happen every season.

Which Caribbean islands get hit the most with hurricanes?

Most of the hurricanes go to the small East Caribbean islands, which are located just on their way. In 2016, small Dominica suffered a lot (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic!), The Virgin Islands suffered in the years before last, and in 2017 hurricane Irma razed the islands of St. Martin and Barbuda to the ground, more precisely flooded with water.

The problem with these islands is that there is nowhere to run away. Houses made of cardboard, a very small area – hence the great destruction and even casualties. With some kind of storm, if not a hurricane, then some of these islands are likely to be destroyed every couple of years. But serious destruction does not happen there every year. For example, destruction comparable to that of Hurricane Irma last happened in this region almost 90 years ago!

Atlantic tropical cyclones and disturbances

Atlantic tropical cyclones and disturbances

As you can see on the map, these hurricanes hit Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, nearby islands such as the Bahamas and hit the United States. The United States is the second most dangerous region for hurricanes after the small Caribbean islands. Regardless of their trajectory, most hurricanes end there. However, the undoubted advantages of the States – there is where to go! You can get in a car or public transport and you are already out of the zone of action of the elements, everything is very easy.

Puerto Rico is next in danger. Hurricanes, although they are already turning to the United States, can hit quite well. But the Dominican Republic and Cuba get it relatively rarely. Real hurricanes on these coasts meet on average once every 5-10 years, and destructive hurricanes are even less frequent.

Is Punta Cana a safe place during the hurricane season?

You should definitely know that the safest place in the Dominican Republic is the city of Punta Cana, protected from the ocean by a mountain ridge. So the spray of hurricane waves doesn’t reach Punta Cana, and the tourists enjoy a serene vacation. In any case, almost all hotels have secure hiding places (conference rooms and fitness centers are usually used for this purpose), and staff have clear instructions on how to act in an emergency.

During major hurricanes, usually the hovels of the poor locals are destroyed since they are very flimsy. Having visited the Dominican Republic at least once, look at ordinary villages and you will understand why there is so much destruction during hurricanes.

It is worth noting that during the rainy season in the Dominican Republic you can have a great time, especially since prices are reduced compared to the high tourist season, so a trip to this amazing place, located in a tropical climate, starting from May to November, becomes more affordable. The rainy season in the Dominican Republic is a great opportunity to spend a vacation for those who are engaged in extreme sports. The fact is that the Yaka del Norte river becomes full-flowing, and its rugged rapids are perfect for rafting and kayaking!

Is it worth going to the Caribbean during hurricane season?

Yes! Despite the fact that the hurricane season happens every six months, in most cases these are just pictures of tropical cyclones crossing the Atlantic without prejudice to your vacation. The chances of being in the Caribbean exactly at the time of a hurricane of the highest category are extremely low. Anyway, there will be plenty of time to calmly leave for a safe part of the country or leave the country altogether.

The danger of these hurricanes is mainly for local people who refuse to leave their property and move to safe areas even if a mandatory evacuation is announced. Tourists don’t have such problems. Well, for the paranoid, to be sure, you can exclude from visiting the East Caribbean Islands and the United States in September-October, that are usually the peak of hurricane activity.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the rainy season in the Dominican Republic?

Rainy season in the Dominican Republic begins in early April. But precipitation in April and May is quite low. During these months tropical showers last no more than 30 minutes, and after them the hot sun reappears. At the same time, the air temperature is about 30 degrees, and the sea temperature is about +28C. In short, this time is quite suitable for a beach holiday, and many travelers are in no hurry to close the season. In addition, the period from April to August is the cheapest. Prices for hotels and excursions are markedly reduced compared to the tourist season.

In the Dominican Republic, any season is suitable for a beach holiday. Temperature fluctuations throughout the year are quite insignificant: from 27 to 33 degrees. The climate is mild and pleasant. The rains here are short – no more than 5-10 minutes, and after there are the bright sun shines again. The rainy season here is from May to October. But this definition is rather arbitrary. Because heavy rains are extremely rare. Usually it rains at night and does not interfere with spending the whole day on the beach. And the water in the ocean stays warm (25-30 C) all year round and is perfect for swimming.

The rainy season in the Dominican Republic does not usually deter tourists. Of course, from April to July, the beaches don’t get as crowded as during the high season. However, travelers from all over the world continue to come here to enjoy a beach holiday on the shores of the Caribbean Sea.

When was the last hurricane in the Dominican Republic?

The strongest hurricanes in recent years were Irma and Maria, which in 2017 fell on the country within one month. But if these hurricanes almost completely destroyed the neighboring islands and states, then in the Dominican Republic there were no significant disasters.

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