Antigua and Barbuda has a tropical marine climate (Köppen climate classification Aw), with predominantly hot and humid conditions throughout the year. Moist trade winds pass over the warm seas much through the year and regulate the temperatures. Antigua and Barbuda is a sovereign state in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles area of the Caribbean region. The island country lies in the eastern arc of the Caribbean that separates the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. Antigua lies 39 miles south of Barbuda, 35 miles northeast of Redonda Island, and 406 miles southeast of the United States territory of Puerto Rico. The tropical location, trade winds, and the proximity to the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean influence the climate.
Antigua and Barbuda lies on the arc that forms the easternmost boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the North Atlantic Ocean. The island country's location at 17°N of the equator blesses it with bright sunshine and an equal duration of days and nights. Several small islands and islets are part of the Commonwealth. The terrain is mostly low-lying, with limestone and coral formations, and some high volcanic areas. Limestone formations dominate the north, followed by a central clay plain, and volcanic area in the south. Beaches, lagoons, and natural harbors abound the coastlines of the islands. Reefs and shoals surround the significant part of the islands. The islands have no rivers and lack sources of freshwater except for small streams and reservoirs. Boggy Peak, a volcanic crater, is the highest point in Antigua and Barbuda at 402 meters above sea level.
Antigua and Barbuda has two primary seasons. The dry season is from January to May and the wet season runs from June to December. The average daily temperature rises from a low of 25°C (77°F) in January to a high of 28.1°C (82.6°F) in August. Summers are wet, hot, and humid. The average high temperatures reach 31.1°C (88°F) between June to August, but temperatures above 33.3°C (91.9°F) are rare. The skies remain cloudy for more than 60% of the time. Winters are cool to warm and relatively dry, with the average low temperatures at 22.2°C (72°F) in January. The northeastern trade winds begin to blow strongly and push down the humidity levels and the heat index. The average daily wind speeds clock in the range of 19.3km/h (12mph) to 29km/h (18mph) throughout the year and is the highest in July. Wind direction remains predominantly from the east. Hurricanes pass over the islands in the wet season.
Antigua and Barbuda receives an annual average rainfall of a moderate 990.6mm (39"). Saint John's, the capital of Antigua, receives 1041.4mm (41") of precipitation in 125 wet days in the year. Codrington, the capital of Barbuda, registers 939.8mm (37") of rainfall in 120 wet days annually. The wettest period is from September to November, while the driest is from February to March. The rainy season from June to December contributes to 80% of the annual precipitation. The rainfall is mostly in the form of downpours or thunderstorms, sometimes intense, but rarely lasting for extended periods. The yearly sunshine is in the range of 2900 hours to 3000 hours, and the daily sunlight registers between 7 hours and 9 hours. The average relative humidity ranges from 68 to 78% and reaches its peak in August. The average seawater temperatures range between a mild 26.1°C (79°F) to a warm 28.9°C (84°F) and are suitable for swimming throughout the year.
The highest recorded temperature in Antigua and Barbuda is 34.9°C (94.8°F), set on August 12, 1995, in Saint John's. The record for the lowest temperature is 16.1°C (61°F), set on December 31, 1974, in Saint John's.
The best time to visit Antigua and Barbuda
The best time to visit Antigua and Barbuda is from January to April in the dry season. The period between the third week of January and the first week of February has the best conditions of the year, with many rainless days and temperatures between 18.3°C (64.9°F) and 32.2°C (90°F). Winds blow with moderate speeds of 19.3km/h (12mph) to 22.5km/h (14mph) to keep the atmosphere pleasant. The daily sunshine lasts for 8 hours, even during the coldest time of the year. Tropical storms are mostly absent in the dry season, and the seawaters are calm.
The worst time to visit Antigua and Barbuda
The worst time to visit Antigua and Barbuda is during the hot and humid summer from June to September. The sun's ultraviolet index reaches a peak of 12, and the sun rays emit dangerous radiations. The relative humidity reaches its peak, and the days remain muggy 100% of the time. The sticky atmosphere induces much sweat. Heavy rainfall amid thunderstorms and downpour poses a challenge for sunbathing or water-related activities. Tropical storms gather steam and add to the uncertainty of the weather.
Antigua and Barbuda is prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and droughts. The islands are part of a volcanic arc in the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean. Tropical storms and anticyclones are frequent than hurricanes. Antigua and Barbuda lie outside the principal hurricane strike zone and mostly see category 1 or category 2 hurricanes. June to October accounts for one hurricane, on average, in the year. Hurricane Luis brought severe damage to Barbuda in 1995. Hurricane Irma damaged 95% of Barbuda's infrastructure with wind speeds over 297.7km/h (185mph) in September 2017. The collision of the South American and Caribbean Plates results in several low to moderate-intensity earthquakes. Thunderstorms and rainstorms are standard in the wet season. Droughts are frequent due to the lack of freshwater sources.
Weather in January
January is usually the coldest month of the year in Antigua and Barbuda, with average temperatures in the 22.2°C (72°F) to 27.8°C (82°F) zone. January ushers the transition to the dry season with average precipitation less than 55.9mm (2.2"). The northeast trade winds blow at average speeds of 25.7km/h (16mph) in Saint John's to keep the atmosphere pleasant. Codrington receives relatively less rainfall between 30.5mm (1.2") to 50.8mm (2"). The skies remain clear for 80% of the time during the third week, which is the brightest part of the month. The relative humidity ranges between 60% and 90% and is at the lowest of the year. The average seawater temperatures at 26.1°C (79°F) attract crowds to the famous beaches of Antigua and the lagoons of Barbuda. The daily sunshine lasts for 8 hours during the 11 hours and 30 minutes of daylight. Antigua and Barbuda offers warm weather in January to people who wish to escape the cold winters of the Northern Hemisphere.
Weather in February
February is the driest month of the year in Antigua and Barbuda, with less than 45.7mm (1.8") of rainfall and 9 wet days. The average temperatures are in the warm zone of 22.2°C (72°F) to 27.8°C (82°F), with warm daily sunshine of 8 hours. There is ample time for sea excursions and cruises, with daylight slightly less than 12 hours. The relative humidity ranges between 60% and 90% and reduces with each passing day in the month. The skies remain clear up to 78% of the time, with running clouds at the most during the day. Light summer clothing, including a sweatshirt, is suitable during the day. Light to moderate breezes keep evenings comfortable with average daily wind speeds between 24.1km/h (15mph) to 25.7km/h (16mph). The seawaters are comfortable for swimming at 26.1°C (79°F) to the delight of the beach lovers. Expect crowds on the white sandy beaches. February has lovely temperate weather for a beach holiday in Antigua and Barbuda.
Weather in March
March is a dry and sunny month in Antigua and Barbuda, with average precipitation less than 50.8mm (2"). The average temperatures register in the temperate zone of 22.8°C (73°F) to 28.9°C (84°F). The bright sunshine lasts for 8 hours every day, but the skies occasionally witness running clouds. Saint John's wakes up to sunrise between 6.13 a.m. and 6.25 a.m. and registers 12 hours of daylight. People flock to Mamora Bay in the comfortable weather, with temperatures usually between 22.2°C (72°F) to 28.3°C (82.9°F) and hardly 40.6mm (1.6") of rainfall. Early risers get the best swimming spots, with the average seawater temperatures at a comfortable 26.7°C (80.1°F). The average daily wind speeds decrease from 24.1km/h (15mph) to 21.7km/h (13.5mph) during March, with a slight rise in average humidity level to 72%. The ultraviolet index of the sun reaches the peak of 12, so sunscreen and sunhats are necessary. Umbrellas are usually unwarranted, with just 7 days of light rain in March in Antigua and Barbuda.
Weather in April
April is the last month of the dry season in Antigua and Barbuda before the rain gods take over. The averages precipitation is 71.1mm (2.8"), with light showers during 7 wet days in the month. Temperatures in Codrington are in the range of 23.9°C (75°F) to 28.9°C (84°F). The days are warm, and the nights are comfortable. Saint Johnston Village registers slightly cool nights, with average temperatures between 22.8°C (73°F) and 28.9°C (84°F). The daily sunshine lasts for 8 hours, and daylight increases to 12 hours and 46 minutes by the end of April. The seawaters are comfortable at 26.7°C (80.1°F), and the calm waters are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The brisk northeast trade winds blow with average speeds of 22.5km/h (14mph) to 24.1km/h (15mph) and keep the conditions comfortable. Evenings are pleasant without the need for rain jackets or umbrellas. April skies remain clear at least 69% of the time, and beach nights are perfect for stargazing. Antigua and Barbuda offers fair weather for a family Easter holiday in April.
Weather in May
May transitions Antigua and Barbuda to the wet season, with a gradual increase in precipitation. The average temperatures are in the range of 25°C (77°F) to 30°C (86°F), with hot days amid 8 hours of daily sunshine. The daylight increases to 13 hours by May 31, with sunrise between 5.30 a.m. and 5.40 a.m. Falmouth temperatures range between 23.9°C (75°F) to 30°C (86°F), and the town receives 88.9mm (3.5") of rainfall. The average relative humidity touches 75% in May, and the conditions become muggy. The skies remain overcast for 49% to 66% of the time. Wind speeds remain constant in the 22.5km/h (14mph) to 24.1km/h (15mph) range, but the trade winds become irregular with the progress of the wet season. Thunderstorms are common in the afternoons, which is the time to avoid beach outings. Seawaters are warm at 27.2°C (81°F) and suitable for swimming. Many tourists take advantage of the fair weather and shoulder-season discounts in May in Antigua and Barbuda.
Weather in June
June is the beginning of the hot and humid summer season in Antigua and Barbuda that sees average temperatures in the range of 25°C (77°F) to 31.1°C (88°F). The conditions become muggy, with the rise in humidity levels. Moisture-laden air makes the conditions sticky and induces much sweat. The sun rays are at peak intensity, and the palms and shrubs offer little shade in the hot afternoons. Thunderstorms frequently occur between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. and are accompanied by bouts of heavy rain. The average precipitation is to the tune of 63.5mm (2.5") to 76.2mm (3") in Antigua, and slightly less in Barbuda. June 20 is the longest day of the year in Saint John's, with 13 hours and 9 minutes of daylight. The average daily wind speeds increase from 22.5km/h (14mph) to 24.9km/h (15.5mph) during the month. Light summer clothing, along with sweatshirts, is best to wear during the day. Tropical storms begin to invade the shores of Antigua and Barbuda in June.
Weather in July
July brings ample rain to Antigua and Barbuda, with at least 12 wet days in the month. The average temperatures are in the zone of 25°C (77°F) to 31.1°C (88°F), with bright sunshine of 8 hours every day. Potter's Village and Piggotts in the interior of Antigua are hotter by -17.2°C (1°F) to -16.7°C (1.9°F) than the coast. July 22 is the clearest day of the month, with bright skies for 52% of the time. The sunset occurs between 6.40 p.m. to 6.50 p.m. during the month, as the daylight registers slightly below 13 hours. Temperatures rarely scale the 32.2°C (90°F) mark. However, visitors from cold countries find the heat stifling as the humidity levels remain high between 70% and 95%. July 10 is the windiest day of the year in Saint John's, with average speeds of 27.4km/h (17mph). Wind speeds decrease over the month, and evenings receive only modest breezes. Seawaters register a warm 27.8°C (82°F), as July sees fewer crowds in Antigua and Barbuda.
Weather in August
August is usually the hottest month of the year in Antigua and Barbuda, with the average temperatures in the zone of 26.1°C (79°F) to 31.1°C (88°F). The hot days typically end in warm and humid nights. The average relative humidity reaches a peak level of 78%. Mornings often scale to 90% stickiness and are the best times to swim in the seawaters that average 27.8°C (82°F) during the day. The average precipitation is 99.1mm (3.9"), with Barbuda registering slightly lower than Antigua and Redonda. Showers frequent the afternoons but pass away quickly. Thunderstorms and downpour is the general nature of the precipitation. The hurricane season is in full swing by August, and a few storms pass over the islands. The humidity makes the heat oppressive and reduces average daily wind speeds from 25.7km/h (16mph) to 22.5km/h (14mph) in the month. Expect little comfort during the nights. August sees a decrease in tourist footfalls, with unpredictable weather in Antigua and Barbuda.
Weather in September
September begins the wettest period of the year in Antigua and Barbuda. The precipitation increases substantially to average between 127mm (5") and 152.4mm (6") during 12 wet days in the month. Heavy downpour is evident, and the showers last for long periods. Thunderstorms are frequent in the afternoons, along with tropical storms and occasionally, cyclones. The average temperatures are in the range of 25°C (77°F) to 30°C (86°F), with a decrease in daily sunshine to 7 hours. The daylight lasts for 12 hours in much of the country. The skies remain cloudy for at least 60% of the time, and relative humidity is high in the 75% to 95% range. The average daily wind speeds drop from 22.5km/h (14mph) to 19.3km/h (12mph) during the month, as the northeast trade winds blow irregularly and are moderate at the most. The seawaters are at the warmest of 28.9°C (84°F) in September. Antigua and Barbuda experiences stormy conditions in September.
Weather in October
October is the wettest month of the year in Antigua and Barbuda. The average precipitation is to the tune of 139.7mm (5.5") to 152.4mm (6") in the coastal regions and slightly lower in the interior and northern regions. The chance of a wet day in October looms between 31% and 36%, the highest of the year. Temperatures usually range between 23.9°C (75°F) to 30.6°C (87.1°F), with 7 hours of daily sunshine in most places. All Saints, in central Antigua, registers average temperatures in the 23.3°C (73.9°F) to 31.1°C (88°F) range. October 31 is the shortest day with 11 hours and 30 minutes of daylight. Although the seawaters are warm at 27.8°C (82°F), there are few takers for swimming and other water activities. Raincoats and umbrellas are necessary during outdoor visits. Wind speeds remain in the range of 19.3km/h (12mph) to 20.9km/h (13mph), with occasional light breezes during the evenings. Tourists prefer to skip the wet October weather for a holiday in Antigua and Barbuda.
Weather in November
November is wet in Antigua and Barbuda, with an average of 127mm (5") to 139.7mm (5.5") of rainfall. Temperatures usually range between 23.9°C (75°F) to 30°C (86°F), with humid conditions during most of the days. Nights are warm, with small temperature drops between midnight and sunrise. The showers moderate the heat for sometime before the heat index rises again. The skies remain clear for 62% of the time during the month. Saint John's registers 11 hours and 11 minutes of daylight by the fourth week of November. The relative humidity ranges between 70% to 95%, and the conditions are the muggiest in the mornings. Early risers find the hour after sunrise, which occurs between 6.05 a.m. and 6.15 a.m., to be the best time to stroll on the beaches. Scattered thunderstorms occur in the afternoon, often with a torrential downpour. Expect the heat to decrease gradually with each passing day in the month. The storm season loses strength by the end of November in Antigua and Barbuda.
Weather in December
December brings comfortable weather in Antigua and Barbuda, with a change in seasons. The transition to the dry season sees a significant drop in rainfall, which yields 76.2mm (3") to 88.9mm (3.5") of precipitation in the month. The decrease in heat registers the temperatures in the range of 22.8°C (73°F) to 28.9°C (84°F). Bolands records average temperatures in the comfortable zone of 22.8°C (73°F) to 28.3°C (82.9°F). December 21 is the shortest day of the year, with 11 hours and 5 minutes of daylight in Codrington. Christmas week is sunny, with 7 hours of bright sunshine and offers a great escape from the cold winters of the north to the tropical islands. The mild seawaters, at a comfortable 27.2°C (81°F), attract visitors from cold countries. The average daily wind speeds pick up from 24.1km/h (15mph) to 27.4km/h (17mph) as the northeast trade winds begin to blow regularly. The seawaters are calm, but the wind provides enough motivation for surfers to tread on the waters. The chances of clear skies and dry weather significantly increase in Antigua and Barbuda by December end.