The weather in Jamaica can fluctuate more widely from one part of Jamaica to another, than it does from season to season.
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In general the mornings are sunny, it rains for a couple of hours in the afternoon, and then the evenings are cool and pleasant with gorgeous sunsets.
Along the south coast there is usually a gentle cooling breeze, whereas the north coast gets slightly stronger winds, which can be a bit disconcerting if you are a golfer.
Average Temperatures in Jamaica
Average temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year. Around the coastal plains the temperature is usually about 70°F – 90°F. The north coast tends to be a few degrees cooler than the south, because of the stronger breezes.
Evenings can be considerably cooler than during the days, and a light sweater is advised just in case.
In the hilly and mountainous central parts of the island, it is quite common for the temperature to drop into the 50″s in the evenings.
And in the Blue Mountains the temperature often drops into the 40″s.
At Blue Mountain Peak it has even been known to snow, but it does not settle.
General Pattern of Rainfall in Jamaica
Our rainy season is from May to October … May, August, September and October are usually the heaviest rainfall.
Our best weather in Jamaica is in our “Winter” season, which is from December to April.
November, if we don”t get any hurricanes, is usually a pretty good month as well.
The average annual rainfall over the island is about 77 inches per year. However, the rainfall from one part of the island to the next is very variable.
In the Blue Mountains rainfall exceeds 200 inches per year.
The southern coastal plains of St Elizabeth usually gets between 10 – 20 inches per year, and the Whitehouse area of Westmoreland usually gets 30 – 40 inches per year.
Just 16 miles further on towards towards Savanna-la-mar in Westmoreland the rainfall is in excess of 100 inches per year.
Negril and Montego Bay usually have in excess of 100 inches annually.
As you move along the north coast towards St Ann”s Bay and Ocho Rios there is a bit less rainfall, but then as you go further east towards Port Antonio the rainfall gets heavier again.
Extreme Weather Conditions in Jamaica
In our supposedly dry winter season we sometimes suffer what we call in Jamaica a “Norther”.
Severe weather heads down from North America, and our usually good weather in Jamaica takes a nose dive. We can get winds and rain for a week or more.
We are in the Atlantic hurricane belt, so from June to November we are on hurricane watch.
Hurricanes are very unpredictable creatures, and even if we don”t get a direct hit, we may suffer torrential rains and winds for several days.
In particular, I remember Hurricane Charlie in 1951, which started just off Barbados and headed up towards Jamaica.
The devastation of the south coast, and centre of the island, was extreme.
Belmont beach in Westmoreland disappeared. The face of Mandeville”s town clock was found in Black River about 15 miles away as the crow flies
The roads were impassable … they were strewn with roofs of houses, sheets of galvanised zinc, electric and telegraph poles and lines, and other rubble.
One of the doctor”s in Mandeville had to walk several miles to get to the hospital, to save the life of his 11 year old patient, whose tonsils had been removed just as Huricane Charlie was approaching, and was haemorrhaging. Thankfully, he succeeded.
Many other hurricanes … Allen, Dean, Dennis, Emily, Gilbert, Ivan, and others … on their relentless journey northwards towards the American mainland, have caused us considerable damage, and disrupted many holidaymakers” vacations.
These acts of nature are unpredictable, and forecasting our weather in Jamaica is best left to the Gods.
But fortunately we don”t get hit every year.
And other than for this increasing unpredictability of nature, the general pattern of our weather in Jamaica, makes us a golf, sun, beach and party lovers paradise.