How Much Wind Did We Get Last Weekend?

7 01 2019

Last weekend – December 27-30, a very steep pressure gradient across the Caribbean resulted in strong and very gusty winds across many of the islands. Just how much wind did we get?

The highest sustained winds were reported by the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Puerto Rico – 31 mph (50 km/h). This occurred at 3:24 am (1924 UTC) on Friday, 28 December and it was raining moderately at the time.

This strongest wind gusts of 46 mph (74 km/h) were reported by two airports – the Princess Juliana International in St. Martin and the Sir Grantley Adams International in Barbados. These took place Friday, 28 December at 9:32 am (1332 UTC) and Saturday, 29 December at 3 pm (1900 UTC) for Juliana and Grantley Adams respectively. At the times, it was showering moderately in Barbados, while it was dry in St. Martin.

Grantley Adams reported the longest stretch of strong winds i.e. winds greater than 24 mph (39 km/h). This occurred for five hours on 29 December – 9 am to 1 pm.

Several islands issued high wind advisories in anticipation of or response to the above normal winds. These include Antigua and Barbuda along with the rest of the Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands and Barbados. Some islands got more wind than they got for the 2018 hurricane season.

Please note that this report is based almost solely on winds from airports across the region; hence, it only provides the winds for a very small area of each island. Thus, it is quite likely that higher winds would have occurred – especially at elevations and open waters.

The main impacts of the strong winds were on marine activities. The high winds stirred up the seas, making them very hazardous for most marine events, creating loss or revenue for many.

They were also impacts on air transportation. It was reported that LIAT had to abort landing in Dominica and return to Antigua, as the winds were above the aircraft threshold for landing. They were also reports of LIAT flights being delayed, as they had to wait for up to an hour for conducive conditions to take-off.

These high winds are not unusual for this time of the year. Similar events have taken place in past years. Some people refer to them as the “Christmas Winds”.


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One response

7 01 2019
Teddy Allen

Thank you for compiling this great info!

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