The climate of Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic
has a tropical climate with hot, wet summers and warm, dry winters. The northern coastal and lowland regions have a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af). The south-central region has a tropical monsoon (Köppen Am) climate, while the south is a tropical savanna (Köppen Aw). A few areas in the west have an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb). The Dominican Republic occupies two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles of the West Indies. Haiti shares the remaining one-third in the west, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands lie to the north and northwest, and Puerto Rico is in the west. The tropical latitudes, trade winds, and the vast waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea chiefly influence the climate.
The Dominican Republic has a diverse topography with four important mountain ranges. The Cordillera Central is the highest mountain range in the West Indies. The fertile Cibao Valley lies between the northern and central mountain ranges. The semi-arid San Juan Valley lies south of the Cordillera range. Much of the area near the Enriquillo Basin has a hot and arid climate (Köppen BSh). The Caribbean Coastal Plain is the most extensive plain in the country and stretches in the north and east of Santo Domingo. The Yaque del Norte, Yuna, San Juan, and Artibonito are the four major rivers in the country. Lakes, lagoons, mangroves, and cays are essential parts of the island's ecosystem. Pico Duarte is the highest peak in the Caribbean at 3098 meters. Lake Enriquillo, a saltwater lake at 45 meters below sea level, is the lowest elevation in the Caribbean.
The Dominican Republic has two distinct seasons. The wet season lasts from May
, and the dry season is from December
. Summers are hot and humid and fall under the wet season. August
is the hottest month, with average high temperatures above 32.2°C (90°F). Many days register above 37.8°C (100°F), and extreme temperatures occur occasionally. Winters are sunny and relatively dry, with average low temperatures below 17.8°C (64°F) during the coldest month of January
. The annual average temperatures range from 17.8°C (64°F) at high elevations to 28.3°C (82.9°F) at sea level. Temperatures drop to 0°C (32°F) in the mountains on rare occasions and rise to 40°C (104°F) in the inland valleys. The northeast trade winds provide pleasant conditions from November to March
in the dry conditions than the rest of the year. Pico Duarte receives occasional snow on its summit in the winter as do other mountains at altitudes above 3000 meters. Hurricanes have the highest frequency between September
. Heavy rainfall and tropical storms are frequent in the wet season.
The annual average precipitation in the Dominican Republic registers an ample 1498.6mm (59"). The wet season accounts for eighty% of the rainfall annually. The northwestern coasts receive more rain in the winter, and the precipitation increases from west to east. A few sections in the west are semi-arid with less than 355.6mm (14") of rainfall, while the Cordillera Oriental averages 2717.8mm (107"). The island receives ample annual sunshine of 2700 hours in the north to 3000 hours in the south. The seawater temperatures are in the warm range of 25.6°C (78.1°F) to 28.9°C (84°F) and suitable for swimming year-round. The diverse topography is the reason for different microclimates over short distances in the country.
Mao recorded the highest-ever temperature of 43°C (109.4°F) on August 31, 1954, in the Dominican Republic. The record for the lowest temperature is -7°C (19.4°F), set on January 17, 1983, in Valle Nuevo, Constanza.
The best time to visit Dominican Republic
The best time to visit the Dominican Republic
is in the dry season from December
. The inland areas, as well as the southern coasts, including Santo Domingo, begin to experience comfortable weather from December. The northern coasts are at their best during February
, the driest months of the year. The temperatures are moderate, and the conditions are sunny, even in the winter. Wind speeds remain below 32.2km/h (20mph) after the end of the hurricane season in November
. The probability of clear, blue skies is high during the dry season, and the sea waters are calm. Tropical storms are rare during the winter months.
The worst time to visit Dominican Republic
The worst time to visit the Dominican Republic
is during the hot and humid summer from June
. The sun's peak ultraviolet index of 12 makes the heat unbearable for people unfamiliar with tropical weather. The wet season is prone to heavy rainfall, stifling heat, tropical storms, and hurricanes. The average temperatures cross 32.2°C (90°F) at the peak of summer in most parts of the country. Scuba diving enthusiasts find the wet season unfavorable for exploring the magical underwater realm. The northwestern and southwestern coasts receive relatively less rainfall, with bearable weather during June and July
when the likelihood of hurricanes is low.
The Dominican Republic
is prone to tropical cyclones, hurricanes, thunderstorms, droughts, floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis. June
is the peak of the hurricane season, which experiences several storms. The southern coast on the Caribbean Sea accounts for two-thirds of the tropical storms every year. Hurricane Georges, a category 4 storm, struck the Dominican Republic in 1998, with damaging winds up to 193.1km/h (120mph). The hurricane brought 10-hours of heavy rainfall, which resulted in mudslides, floods, power outages, crop damages, death of 120 people, and damages of $1.2 billion. Weighty rainfall damaged crops across an area of 4,70,000 acres after a severe drought in 1997. The location near the Caribbean Fault is a source of frequent seismic events, including the largest earthquake of magnitude 8.1 in 1946 off the northeast coast.
Weather in January
has pleasant weather in the Dominican Republic
, with the lowest temperatures of the year. Santo Domingo, the capital on the southern coast, registers comfortable temperatures in the zone of 20°C (68°F) to 28.9°C (84°F). Weather in January »
Weather in February
is the driest month of the year in the Dominican Republic
, with the average precipitation between 25.4mm (1") and 76.2mm (3"). The southern coasts receive 8 to 9 hours, while the northern get at least 7 hours of sunlight every day. Weather in February »
Weather in March
sees mostly clear skies in the Dominican Republic
, with humidity levels in the range of 65 to 75%. The average precipitation is in the range of 25.4mm (1") to 76.2mm (3"), except for the north, which sees more rain. The average temperatures are in the comfortable 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F) zone, with sunnier conditions in the south. Weather in March »
Weather in April
is the last month of the dry season in the Dominican Republic
that sees a rapid rise in the heat index amid an increase in cloud cover. The average rainfall is in the range of 50.8mm (2") to 76.2mm (3"), except for 101.6mm (4") to 127mm (5") of precipitation in the northwest region. Temperatures are usually in the 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F) zone, with the northern regions a couple of degrees cooler than the southern ones. Weather in April »
Weather in May
is the beginning of the wet season in the Dominican Republic
, which registers average precipitation of 127mm (5") in 12 to 15 wet days. Tourists to Sabana de la Mar in the wet Samana Peninsula should pack rain gear for protection from the massive 254mm (10") of precipitation. Weather in May »
Weather in June
is hot and humid in the summer season in the Dominican Republic
. The southern coast receives 127mm (5") to 152.4mm (6") of rain, which is usually in the form of heavy showers for brief periods. Puerto Plata on the Amber Coast sees the driest monthly precipitation of 50.8mm (2"), but the average high temperatures scale the hot zone of 31.1°C (88°F) to 32.2°C (90°F). Weather in June »
Weather in July
sees soaring temperatures in the Dominican Republic
, with average high temperatures remaining above 31.1°C (88°F). Nights are warm in the range of 21.1°C (70°F) to 23.9°C (75°F). The temperatures are in the cool 12.8°C (55°F) to warm 26.1°C (79°F) in the mountainous area of Constanza, 1200 meters above sea level. The seawater temperatures in Santo Domingo are in the warm range of 27.8°C (82°F) to 28.9°C (84°F). Weather in July »
Weather in August
is usually the hottest month in the Dominican Republic
, as temperatures rise steadily. Day temperatures remain above 29.4°C (84.9°F) and occasionally cross 32.8°C (91°F). Nights are warm and register in the 21.1°C (70°F) to 26.7°C (80.1°F) zone. The precipitation begins to pick up and averages between 76.2mm (3") to 127mm (5") in most parts of the country. Weather in August »
Weather in September
is a wet month in the Dominican Republic
, with 76.2mm (3") to 177.8mm (7") of rainfall in many areas. The mountains and the Samana Peninsula receive more rain between 203.2mm (8") to 254mm (10"). The average temperatures are in the range of 21.1°C (70°F) to 32.8°C (91°F), with more heat in the north coast and western parts of the country. Weather in September »
Weather in October
is the wettest month of the year in the southern half of the Dominican Republic
. Santo Domingo receives 185.4mm (7.3"), while Punta Cana registers 149.9mm (5.9"), and Barahona sees 185.4mm (7.3") in 10 to 12 wet days in the month. Night temperatures drop slightly to register between 20°C (68°F) and 23.9°C (75°F). Weather in October »
Weather in November
sees ample rainfall in the northern coastal regions of the Dominican Republic
, and moderate in the south. The Amber Coast registers 231.1mm (9.1"), and Sabana de la Mar receives 269.2mm (10.6"), their highest monthly precipitation of the year. Weather in November »
Weather in December
begins the dry season in the Dominican Republic
, with the average rainfall between 50.8mm (2") to 76.2mm (3"). The southern coast is less rainy than the northern ones. Punta Cana and Santa Domingo receive 50.8mm (2") to 76.2mm (3") of rain within 11 wet days in the month. Weather in December »