Tis’ that Time of the Year: The Honduras Hurricane Season…
If you are traveling to Central America, you are aware that the second half of the year is the Hurricane Season. Does this mean that you should postpone your trip? The answer is NO by all means! Although Central America is technically vulnerable to hurricanes both on the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, it is by no means a high risk area.
Officially, according to the National Hurricane Center, which is located in Miami, the Pacific Hurricane Season begins the 15th of May, which means that we are almost one month into the season. The truth is that the Eastern Pacific Ocean usually has a much more active hurricane season than the North Atlantic, however it is extremely rare for a storm to form further south than El Salvador; in any effect, if it does, there is really not much time for it to strengthen before it comes inland, so the damage if any is usually minimal. The Pacific hurricane season in Central America ends around the 15th of November
On the Atlantic basin, the hurricane season officially begins on the first of June and ends November 30th. Most Atlantic hurricanes form either off the coast of Africa or aver the mid Atlantic Ocean, and these rarely make it into the Caribbean, as they usually curve out to sea, hit the mayor Antilles or the Eastern seaboard of the United States.
The true Honduras hurricane season begins in the latter half of the Atlantic season, when the conditions become more favorable for a storm to form off the coast of Central America. This is more prone to happen in late September, and during October and November. This means that you can visit Honduras without any risk of running into a hurricane during your visit during the summer vacations, which are usually July and August.
As a general rule, Honduras gets hit by a hurricane once every 25 years. The last major hurricane was Mitch in 1998, and prior to that it was Hurricane Fifi back in 1974. Although smaller storms, considered tropical storms do visit Honduras from time to time, they are not really that large or damaging to be worth mentioning.
The bottom line about the Honduras hurricane season is that the growing passenger cruise ship industry, which includes the Bay Island of Roatan as an important port of call continues their scheduled itinerary throughout the entire Atlantic storm season. This is proof that the risk of hurricanes in the country is actually quite low. In addition, modern forecasting, and the many weather satellites orbiting Earth have made great strides in helping anticipate to possible hurricane landings, providing more than enough time to get out of harm’s way.
Lastly, Honduras learned a lot during the last major hurricane to strike the country: Hurricane Mitch. As such, the country is much better prepared to act in advance of storms to save lives. Copeco, the Honduran government office in charge of hurricane relief does a great job, and FEMA in the US could probably learn a lot from them.
I hope that you now feel more at ease to visit Honduras during the official Atlantic Hurricane Season. Your chances of running into a storm in Honduras are much lower than that of running into a storm in the US Atlantic States during the same season.