Martinique has a predominantly tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af), with hot and humid conditions throughout the year. Rainfall is heavy and frequent, and the climate tends to be equatorial. Martinique is a French overseas territory in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The windward island lies directly between Dominica in the north and Saint Lucia in the south. Barbados lies in the southeast, and South America is in the southwest. The tropical latitudes, trade winds, and proximity to seas influence the climate. The proximity to the equator ensures an equal duration of day and night much of the year.
Martinique lies 14°N of the equator and is mostly volcanic and tropical. The volcanic island is 43 miles long and 19 miles wide and has a total of 436 square miles. The mountains and volcanoes of the Piton Conil, Mount Pelee, Morne Jacob, and Pitons du Carbet dominate the northern part of the island. Lush rainforests cover the mountainous terrain in many places. The windward coast consists of coastal cliffs, cays, and shallow reefs. The leeward coast is favorable to sea traffic with a steeply descending and deep sea bed. Corals and strong trade winds generally affect the windward side more than the leeward. The eastern coast has several small islands. The southern beaches of Les Salines are white and sandy in contrast to the grey and black northern sand beaches. Mount Pelee is the highest point at 1397 meters above sea level in Martinique.
Martinique is hot and humid, with little variations in temperatures across seasons. Summers and winters are not prominent. However, temperature variations between day and night are sometimes larger than the differences between the seasons. The temperatures are typically in the 22.2°C (72°F) to 31.1°C (88°F) range and rarely register below 20°C (68°F) or above 32.2°C (90°F). The average annual temperature is 26.7°C (80.1°F). June has the warmest average temperature of 27.8°C (82°F), while January is the coolest at 25°C (77°F). December to April is the brightest period of the year, with overcast skies only up to 36% of the time. May to November is cloudy, with dark skies up to 70% of the time. The atmosphere is generally muggy for 95% of the time. The average daily wind speeds are between 20.9km/h (13mph) and 29km/h (18mph). August to November is the calmest period, and December to July is the windiest period in Martinique.
The average annual rainfall in Martinique is ample between 1778mm (70") and 2540mm (100"). Rainfall occurs throughout the year, with no prominent wet or dry season. June to mid-December is wetter than mid-December to May. October is the wettest month with an average of 254mm (10") of rainfall, and February is the driest with 63.5mm (2.5"). The northern region receives abundant rainfall up to 4064mm (160"). The southern region registers 2006.6mm (79"), but the precipitation is a moderate 1193.8mm (47") to 1524mm (60") on the southern and eastern coasts. Martinique registers an average of 205 wet days in the year. The average seawater temperatures are in the warm range of 26.1°C (79°F) to 28.9°C (84°F) and suitable for swimming all year-round. Sunshine is abundant and registers between 2400 hours to 2800 hours annually. The daylight lasts from a little over 11 hours to 13 hours over the year.
The highest temperature on record for Fort-de-France, the capital, is 36.1°C (97°F), and the record for the lowest temperature is 15°C (59°F).
The best time to visit Martinique
The best times to visit Martinique are mid-December to April. The conditions are relatively dry, especially in February and March. The seawaters are calm, and the coasts receive plenty of sunshine. The southern beaches offer ample sunshine and exotic white sands. The skies are at the clearest of the year, and the mugginess is at acceptable levels. The daylight lasts for more than 11 hours and increases steadily to register above 12 hours. Wind speeds are high and usher in cool breezes that keep the seashores pleasant. The end of the hurricane season brings comfortable conditions in Martinique.
The worst time to visit Martinique
The worst time to visit Martinique is from August to October in the hurricane season. The likelihood of tropical storms is the highest during the period. Heavy rainfall, strong winds, and poor visibility make navigation difficult during tropical storms. Thunderstorms are likely in the afternoons. The windward coasts with generally rough seas have treacherous conditions. The cloudy skies and moderate wind speeds contribute to a rise in humidity levels and result in a high heat index. Intense rainfall lasts at least 20 days each month, and the atmosphere is wet, humid, and oppressive.
Martinique faces weather hazards in the form of thunderstorms, floods, tropical storms, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. Tropical storms frequently occur in the Caribbean Sea during the hurricane season that lasts from June to November. The storms are most likely from August to October and bring strong winds and heavy rainfall. Strong winds pose a danger to the sea traffic near the island, particularly on the island's windward side. Thunderstorms and downpours are intense at times and can last longer during periods of bad weather. Mount Pelee is an active volcano, with past eruptions in 1792, 1851, and 1902. The two eruptions in 1902 killed thousands of people and destroyed Saint-Pierre. The location of the island along the subduction fault of the South American and Caribbean plates is a source of seismic disturbances.
Weather in January
January is the coolest month in Martinique, but it seldom gets colder than 20°C (68°F). The days tend to be muggy, but the nights are cozy. The average temperatures in Fort-de-France in the central part of the island are in the warm zone of 21.1°C (70°F) to 27.8°C (82°F). The sunlight is ample at 8 hours, and the skies remain clear up to 63% of the time. In Saint Pierre in the northwest, the average temperatures range between 21.7°C (71.1°F) and 27.8°C (82°F). The daylight registers at 11.5 hours on the island, with the earliest sunrise at 6.29 a.m. on January 1. The daily average wind speeds are strong and remain constant within 0.2 miles of 27.7km/h (17.2mph) in January. The average seawater temperatures at 27.2°C (81°F) are suitable for swimming and lying on the beaches. Rainfall is to the tune of 76.2mm (3") to 101.6mm (4"). The mild weather in January in Martinique provides a perfect getaway from the harsh winters of North America.
Weather in February
February is the driest month in Martinique, with mostly clear skies amid a slight drop in humidity. The average temperatures are in the warm zone of 21.1°C (70°F) to 28.3°C (82.9°F), and the skies remain clear up to 60% of the time. The average precipitation in Fort-de-France is between 50.8mm (2") and 76.2mm (3"), the least of the year. There is no real dry season, with at least 12 wet days in the month. February receives 8 hours of intense sunshine every day amid 12 hours of daylight. The average seawater temperatures are at 26.1°C (79°F), the lowest of the year. The sea is calm, with the hurricane season still far away. The daily average wind speeds range between 26.9km/h (16.7mph) to 27.7km/h (17.2mph), and the wind direction is predominantly from the east. Bring light clothing, including a sweatshirt for the evening. Wear a sun hat and sunscreen for protection from the dangerous sun rays. February has some of the best conditions to visit Martinique.
Weather in March
March is a relatively dry month in Martinique, with 63.5mm (2.5") to 76.2mm (3") of average precipitation. The average temperatures in La Trinite in the interior are in the warm range of 22.2°C (72°F) to 28.9°C (84°F). Le Marin registers slightly high temperatures in the 22.8°C (73°F) to 28.9°C (84°F), with at least 8 hours of daily sunshine. The cloud cover increases over the month from 43% to 48% of the time. The chance of a muggy day increases from 95% to 98% over the month. The 12 hours of daylight provides ample time to explore the beaches and rainforests. The possibility of a wet day increases from 19% to 23% during March. The average seawater temperatures are enjoyable at 26.1°C (79°F) and remain at the lowest of the year. Wear light summer clothing, but add a rain jacket if a visit to the mountains is in the plan. March draws many tourists to Martinique due to comfortable weather.
Weather in April
April is warm and sunny in Martinique, with relatively less rainfall. The average precipitation is to the tune of 88.9mm (3.5") in much of the island except the mountains. The average temperatures in Fort-de-France are between 22.2°C (72°F) and 30°C (86°F), and rarely fall below 20.6°C (69.1°F) or rise above 31.1°C (88°F). The daylight increases to 12.5 hours by the end of the month. However, the skies become cloudier by the day and are overcast up to 60% of the time by April-end. It is good to carry a raincoat or umbrella as the possibility of a wet day increases up to 30% in the month. The average seawater temperatures at 27.2°C (81°F) are suitable for swimming, and the calm waters are perfect for water activities. The northeast trade winds are active and keep the daily average wind speeds within 0.1 miles of 24.9km/h (15.5mph). Expect the precipitation to increase gradually by the end of the month. April is an excellent time to explore the southern white sands or northern rainforests of Martinique.
Weather in May
May is a transitional month in Martinique that brings a significant rise in rainfall. The conditions are generally hot and humid. By mid-May, the skies are heavily overcast and deliver more than 127mm (5") rain in most parts of the island. Saint Pierre is considerably hot, with average temperatures in the 23.3°C (73.9°F) to 30°C (86°F) zone. Le Lamentin registers average temperatures between 23.9°C (75°F) and 30.6°C (87.1°F), with a 100% chance of a muggy day throughout May. The daylight gradually increases to register 13 hours by the end of the month. Much of the central and southern regions receive 8 hours of intense daily sunshine. The southern coasts receive plenty of sunshine and moderate rainfall. The northern mountains register frequent and ample rainfall and remain under the influence of cloudy skies. Umbrellas and rain jackets find regular usage, with at least 15 wet days in the month. May is best for budget travelers in Martinique with a decrease in footfalls due to the arrival of the wet season.
Weather in June
June is the warmest month of the year in Martinique and begins the wet season. The skies are overcast up to 57% of the time, with an average precipitation of 180.3mm (7.1"). The relative humidity is high, and the days are muggy up to 100% of the time. The average temperatures are in the hot range of 25°C (77°F) to 30.6°C (87.1°F). The conditions are oppressive due to the high heat index. June 19 is the longest day in Saint Pierre, with 13 hours of daylight. June sees a slight decrease in the sunshine to 7 hours. The rainforests are mainly cloudy and damp. The highest daily average speed reaches 28.6km/h (17.8mph) during the fourth week of June in Fort-de-France. Wind direction is predominantly from the east. The average seawater temperatures are warm at 27.8°C (82°F) and suitable for swimming during dry spells. The southern coasts along the leeward side of the island have calm waters. June begins the hurricane season in the Caribbean that also affects Martinique.
Weather in July
July is hot, humid, and wet in Martinique. The average temperatures are in the range of 25°C (77°F) to 30°C (86°F), but the conditions are stifling due to high humidity. Nights remain above 23.3°C (73.9°F), and the daytime highs are below 31.1°C (88°F). The precipitation it to the tune of 203.2mm (8") to 254mm (10"), and the chance of a wet day is high at 47%. Thunderstorms and downpour are standard features of the afternoons. In Fort-de-France, the daily sunshine is intense and lasts for 8 hours. The earliest sunrise occurs at 5.38 a.m., and the latest sunset is at 6.37 p.m. in Fort-de-France in July. The daily average wind speeds range from 26.1km/h (16.2mph) to 28.5km/h (17.7mph), with a predominantly easterly direction. The average seawater temperatures remain constant at 27.8°C (82°F) and offer relaxation from the muggy conditions. Rain jackets and umbrellas are necessary during outdoor visits. Expect bright sunshine between rainy periods. July registers an average of 22 wet days in Martinique, the highest among all months.
Weather in August
August is rainy in Martinique, with an increase in cloud cover and humidity. The skies are cloudy up to 63% of the time, and the sticky heat causes much sweat. The average temperatures in Saint Pierre are between 23.9°C (75°F) to 30.6°C (87.1°F), while Le Lamentin is slightly warmer in the 24.4°C (75.9°F) to 31.1°C (88°F) range. The daylight decreases slightly below 12.5 hours, but the sunlight lasts for 8 hours. August sees up to 21 wet days, with 228.6mm (9") of rainfall in most places. The slopes of Mount Pelee and the Carbet Mountains receive abundant rain, and the skies are mostly cloudy. Thunderstorms regularly occur in the mountains and further exacerbate the wet conditions. The daily average wind speeds decrease from 26.1km/h (16.2mph) to 22.5km/h (14mph) over the month. The average seawater temperatures register at 27.8°C (82°F) in the shallow clear waters of Fort-de-France Bay. Keep an eye on the weather for storms as August begins the peak period of hurricanes in Martinique.
Weather in September
September is humid and rainy in Martinique, with mostly cloudy skies. Clouds hover constantly, and the island is overcast up to 70% of the time, the highest of the year. The relative humidity remains between 75% and 95% much of the time. September sees up to 254mm (10") of precipitation in many places. The possibility of tropical storms and hurricanes is at the highest of the year. Fort-de-France registers average temperatures in the 22.8°C (73°F) to 30°C (86°F) range. Saint Pierre is between 23.3°C (73.9°F) and 30.6°C (87.1°F), with muggy days and nights. The daily sunshine reduces to 7 hours and the daylight to 12 hours by the autumn equinox. The usually strong winds become moderate and register in the average range of 20.8km/h (12.9mph) to 22.2km/h (13.8mph). The average seawater temperatures at 28.9°C (84°F) are at the warmest of the year. The southern and eastern coasts receive less rainfall but draw few visitors during the wet season. The sun's ultraviolet index is still at the peak of 12 in Martinique in September.
Weather in October
October is usually the wettest month of the year in Martinique, with 254mm (10") to 304.8mm (12") of precipitation in most places. Mountains slopes receive frequent and torrential downpours that can exceed 127mm (5") at a time. The possibility of a rainy day increases to 46%, with 18 wet days in the month. The average day temperatures are in the hot 28.9°C (84°F) to 31.1°C (88°F) range, while the average night temperatures are between 22.2°C (72°F) and 25.6°C (78.1°F). The sunlight decreases to an average 7 hours a day on the southern coasts and 6 hours in the northern mountains. The daylight reduces to 11.5 hours by the end of the month. October is the calmest month of the year, with daily average wind speeds at 20.8km/h (12.9mph) in Fort-de-France. Expect thunderstorms and rain during the afternoons. Raincoats are necessary during outdoor visits of long duration. The hurricane season is at its peak, and the possibility of storms is high. October is a time to avoid Martinique.
Weather in November
November is warm to hot, humid, and wet in Martinique. The frequency of tropical storms decreases gradually. However, the rainfall is still heavy in the 203.2mm (8") to 254mm (10") range in most places. The possibility of a wet day reduces from 46% to 41% over the month. The average temperatures range between 22.8°C (73°F) and 30°C (86°F), and the relative humidity is in the range of 65% to 90%. The daylight decreases gradually to register 11 hours and 20 minutes by the end of the month. The daily sunshine reduces to 6 hours, along with a reduction in the intensity of the sunrays. The daily average wind speeds increase from 22km/h (13.7mph) to 25.1km/h (15.6mph) over the month. Wind directions are prominently from the east, followed by the south. The average seawater temperatures register at 27.8°C (82°F), which are comfortable for swimming. An odd storm passes by the island in November. Expect the rainfall to decrease gradually by the end of November in Martinique.
Weather in December
December is the beginning of the relatively dry season in Martinique, with mostly clear skies. Much of Martinique receives rainfall in the moderate zone of 101.6mm (4") to 152.4mm (6") during 17 wet days in the month. The daily sunshine registers at 6 hours, and the sun's ultraviolet index measures at 8, the lowest of the year. The skies are clear between 50% at the beginning and 62% at the end of the month. The average temperatures are in the comfortable range of 22.2°C (72°F) to 28.9°C (84°F), with relative humidity in the zone of 65% to 85%. December 21 is the shortest day in Fort-de-France with 11 hours and 16 minutes of daylight. People from cold regions are in for a surprise as there is no need for warm winter clothing, even in December. Evening breezes make the conditions pleasant on the eastern and southern beaches. December begins to witness favorable weather and an increase in tourist footfalls in Martinique.