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How wet is wet? (rainy saison June-Sept)

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 1:12 pm
by Gerald T.
Although there is already an abundance of weather hints, I'd like to pose a more general question concerning the local weather conditions during European summer.

During the rainy season more or less short, but heavy thunderstorms seem to bring the major amount of "wetness". Do they influence/disturb holiday activties on Tobago severely? I mean, do I have to expect land slides (as I read elsewhere), muddy forest trails, and flooded roads in the SW? Or, is everything dry again after an hour?


Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 2:17 pm
by Roel le Pair
Hi Gerald,
The weather is described here:

From personal experience I can tell you that my holidays were never influenced/disturbed. I spent them all (4) during the wet season (May, June, August, October) enough sunshine, reasonable amounts of liquid sunshine and a lush nature. Only last year (August) we had 2 days with rain that continued for 4 to 6 hours or so.

Besides that I recognise the fact that our accommodation is only slightly less occupied during May-Novenber (but this has other reasons than general weather conditions), so generally spoken Tobago is considered as being a year-around holiday destination.
The landslides of 2004 were the result of very rare weather circumstances which caused holiday-experience influences for maybe 2 or 3 days.
Paul (Tallet) knows better the statistics, my guess is that the landslide and the Ivan-hurricane conditions only happen once in 30 to 40 years (or less).
Kind regards, Roel

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 6:58 pm
by Paul Tallet
Hi Gerald

2004 was a very wet year. In fact it was very wet from around May 2004 right up to and including January 2005.

With hindsight, Hurricane Ivan did little damage although it was a close call and very worrying at the time.

Last November the heaviest rains fell in Tobago's history ... it was an exceptional event that has done some damage.

So I would say that 2004 is an exception by some distance.

You can have rainy periods for a few days or more in the dry season as well as the wet season and you should also be able to expect plenty of sunshine all year round.

But when it rains it can be heavy and because of the geography of Tobago (i.e.; very steep hills) it is common to have one or two small landslides at some point each year, although nowhere near the scale of the huge slides of November 2004.

So, yes ... the trails in the rainforest are often muddy as the tree canopy slows the sun drying them out ... no, the roads in the sun-baked SW are rarely ever flooded and you are very unlikely to experience landslides during your stay.

Tobago is a typical tropical place with a lovely unspoilt rainforest and consequently it will rain sometimes ... but the weather should not spoil your stay.

Hope this helps


post subject

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 7:58 pm
by Mandy
Hi Paul,

Going on Monday its our 1st visit, any chance of giving us a weather update? Been on different www sites on weather and they all give different forcasts.


Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 8:14 pm
by Paul Tallet
Hi Mandy

Look out for the weekly update that I do every Saturday ... there will be one this Saturday and I normally post them around the midday GMT.

Regarding the other weather forecasts, yes, they are all different ... I monitor the official meteorological sites such as the NOAA (US), UK Met ... even these differ ... the rest is down to checking their data against the Satellite loops, checking Sea Surface Temperature (SST) fluctuations and upper airflows to see how general weather patterns can effect local weather around Tobago.

So, I suppose the Liquid Sunshine gives you the best interpretation having considered all the models that the professionals suggest ... I have occasionally disagreed with them :!: and sometimes I get it wrong :roll:

I hope you have a lovely time and watch out for the update this Saturday.


Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 10:43 pm
by Roger D.
Hi Paul;
I look forward to your weekly weather reports. I read in the Trinidad Express that the Met Office at Piarco says that this rainy season will be wetter than normal, they're predicting that in July they're expecting between 270-290 mm of rainfall and eight Tropical Waves. I'm heading down to Tobago in July and was wondering if you can shed any light on this, perhaps explain why this may be a wetter rainy season that normal.
Roger. :?

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 10:55 pm
by Paul Tallet
Hi Roger

There will probably be 40 or 50 or maybe even more Tropical Waves ... there have been 5 already of which 1 has affected Tobago in the last few days.

They (NOAA) are predicting another above average hurricane season so that may not necessarily affect Tobago, being at the extreme south east business end for this type of weather activity.

I already have the 15 provisional names of the hurricanes and I am studying the data issued by the NOAA.

The figures quoted by the Trinidad Express for July are quite high and, of course, pure speculation and probably a reaction to recent weather.

But July could be good ... July has a good track record.

I intend to post something by 1st June which is the official start of the hurricane season ... for now I can quote the NOAA as stating that the main hurricane activity this year is expected in August, September and October ... as always ... they go for the safe bet !!

Watch this space.


Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 7:01 am
by Paul Tallet
Correction ... there are 21 names reserved for this season's Tropical Storms and Hurricanes in the Atlantic/Caribbean.

A Tropical Storm (Adrian) has just developed in the Pacific off western Guatemala and is likely to produce heavy rain and flooding across central America and cause potential for problems across the central and northern Caribbean if it survives the track over land between the Pacific and Caribbean Sea.

Because it has developed in the Pacific Adrian's name falls into the Eastern Pacific list of names and not the Atlantic/Caribbean.

But Adrian could be a complication for the Caribbean although extremely unlikely to get anywhere near Tobago.


Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 11:51 am
by Roger D.
Thanks Paul - "July could be good.....July has a good track record"
Whew. Now I can rest a bit easier knowing the chances of being rained out are not that high. I'll be watching this space or should I say....Stay tuned to this channel....
Roger. :lol:

Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 3:02 pm
by Kevin Hampson
Hi Paul,
Early days yet but it looks like the brolly is going to get packed again in October.

Keep up the good work

Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 6:51 pm
by M Smith
Hi Paul

Thanks for all the helpful info! As I understand it during the wet season the rain generally occurs in short sharp bursts. Would you say that it is rare then for rain to last several hours, or worse still all day!- or is this a relatively frequent occurance? We are going end of June for 2 weeks and not sure if to pack Scrabble!
Sorry if this is a bit of a basic question, its our first time.

Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 7:40 pm
by Paul Tallet
Hi Madeleine

Yes it can rain for hours and even a whole day or more and it is quite rare.

Short sharp bursts are the norm' with loads of sunshine, but occasionally you can get a day of rain and sometimes 2 or 3 days as it did earlier this week.

The funny old thing is ... it can happen at any time of the year ... just a matter of luck really and not really fair to say this only happens in the wet season.

You should always carry out a risk assessment ... for instance, in my experience, I have always had one full day of rain for every 2 weeks I have stayed in Tobago and I have always visited during the dry season.

On that basis, you could conclude that one day of scrabble could be 'on the cards' if you are going for a fortnight.

In fact ... I can feel a new thread coming on about what to do in Tobago when it rains all day ... honestly, it is quite rare, but you will always find something to do ... there is alot to see in Tobago as well the plentiful sunshine.


Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 8:26 pm
by Kevin Hampson
Hi Paul,

You can always go diving it's great fun coming up to find the boatman is just as wet as you are.

Last year we were pretty lucky and just missed the big tropical storm that caused the mud slides, but in 2003 we has 3 days of really solid rain up at BWI, it's still warm so there were no real problems.


Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 9:00 pm
by Paul Tallet
Yes Kevin

There is nothing like the sensation of feeling those cold needles of rainwater on your back as you swim in the warm seawaters around Tobago.

Whilst writing ... I am in a rush and want to dash off to the the Celebrity Island thing on TV :oops: ... Our friend 'Adrian' is shaping up for Hurricane status before it hits Guatemala/Belize ... it will lose strength as it passes over and moves into the Caribbean Sea.

It could pep up again because the Sea Surface Temps are very warm in the Caribbean ... we could have the first Hurricane before the official season has started.

Watch out ... Jamaica, Cayman, Cuba, Mexico, Haiti, Dominican, Puerto Rico, Florida over the next week.

Tobago safe.


Posted: Thu May 19, 2005 1:27 pm
by Andy D
Hi Paul,
I was in Tobago from 30th April - 14th May and i must say that having looked at your weather reports you were pretty much spot on,we had a few showery days and some very heavy rain at night sometimes but generally the weather was very hot and sunny,cant wait to return later this year. Andy :D

Posted: Thu May 19, 2005 4:47 pm
by Terence H
Just returned.

Had some heavy showers at night.
But sunny days, temperature around 32 , 33.

It did however rain all day Sunday 15th May, and most of Monday 16th May.
We were wondering whether the rainy season had started already.

Posted: Thu May 19, 2005 4:58 pm
by Paul Tallet
Thanks Andy ... and Hi Terence.

Yes the rainy season does seem to have started early ... but this is a general statement for the whole of the Caribbean.

There have been several tropical waves, of which one spoilt Terence's Sunday and Monday in Tobago and there is now a Tropical Storm off the Guatemala coast that could wind itself up to hurricane status before landfall.

But the weather in Tobago is \:D/ BEAUTIFUL \:D/ at the moment.

Don't forget ... Tobago is at the extreme south east of all the hurricane/storm business ... bit of a specialised area ... I predicted this week would be better than everywhere else in the Caribbean (despite earlier this week) ... and it has been miles better.

My 2005 Hurricane/Wet Season assessment is coming up shortly.


Posted: Tue May 24, 2005 5:53 pm
by Nikos
We visited Tobago from 5-20 September last year. Right in the middle of the rainy season. Well, we met mr. Ivan :shock: - but that was an one-off, I guess. Happens once every 40 years or so.
Other than that, I don't think we had one full day of clouds and rain. Short sharp bursts, as you see. We didn't even leave the beach each time it started raining. We just waited for a bit under the sun "umbrella" with a beer, and ran back out aftewards. :D
Only once do I remember the rain lasting more than an hour at a time, and the sun always shone good and strong a few minutes after the rain stopped. Yes, the rainforest trails were a bit muddy in September. There were also some showers at night. The rain makes the island look, and smell, much better.
This time we're going to Tobago in (very) late June for two weeks. If the weather is the same as last year -minus hurricane- we'll be happy. 8)

do you take an umbrella to Tobago

Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 6:53 am
by V Fabry
Finaly I can start packing for our first trip to tobago in july. It's clear to me that even in the rainseason it doesn't rain all day, but do we have to take umbrellas or some other raingear or is that totaly ridiculous?

Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 6:55 am
by Steve Wooler
Hi V

A small, telescopic 'travel' umbrella is always a good idea, but I wouldn't bother with anything else.