The climate of United States Virgin Islands
The United States Virgin Islands
have a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen climate classification Aw), with warm to hot temperatures throughout the year. The islands are an unincorporated territory of the United States and constitute a major part of the Virgin Islands archipelago in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico lies 40 miles west of the islands, while Florida is approximately 1100 miles to the northwest. The location in the tropics, proximity to the North Atlantic Ocean, engulfment by large water bodies, and easterly winds mainly influence the climate.
The United States Virgin Islands lie 18°N of the equator near the boundary of the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Saint Thomas, Saint John, and Saint Croix are the three biggest islands in the archipelago, which consists of many smaller islands and cays. Much of the landscape is hilly, and the islands are of volcanic origin. Charlotte Amalie, the capital in Saint Thomas, is a natural, deepwater harbor. The topography is rugged and mountainous, with rare patches of leveled land. Crown Mountain on Saint Thomas has the highest point at 474 meters in the United States Virgin Islands. The coastline of 117 miles, along with pristine white, sandy beaches, and coral reefs, makes the islands a desirable tourist destination.
Temperatures vary little over the year in the United States Virgin Islands. The two main seasons comprise a wet one from April
and a dry one from December
. The average high temperatures reach a peak of 90°F (32.2°C) from July
, and the average low temperatures drop to the lowest of 72°F (22.2°C) in January
. The proximity to the equator keeps days and nights of equal duration. Seawater temperatures remain in the comfortable range of 79°F (26.1°C) to 83°F (28.3°C) during the majority of the year. Fresh sea air moderates the temperatures, so that periods of extreme hot and cold weather are rare.
The annual precipitation in the United States Virgin Islands is an ample 38" (965mm), with the highest rainfall between September to November. The wet season is the period of the highest frequency of storms and receives three-fourths of the annual rainfall. The annual sunshine is an ample 3000 hours, with sunny days throughout the year. Easterly trade winds moderate the humidity and keep the conditions enjoyable. Tropical storms and hurricanes run amok from June
The highest temperature on record for the United States Virgin Islands is 99°F (37.2°C), while the record lowest temperature is 52°F (11.1°C).
The best time to visit United States Virgin Islands
The best time to visit the United States Virgin Islands
is from December
. The dry season sees a significant drop in rainfall, and the conditions are calm in the absence of storms. The heat quotient is at the lowest of the year, mainly due to the low humidity than the little dip in temperatures. Light to moderate-speed winds keep the conditions pleasant, and the bright sunshine gives plenty of time to spend outdoors. Seawaters are calm in the Caribbean after the hurricane season, which makes it the best time to swim, sail, and cruise in the mild waters.
The worst time to visit United States Virgin Islands
The worst time to visit the United States Virgin Islands
is from August
in the wet season. The highest temperatures of the year, along with a rise in humidity, make the conditions oppressive. Additionally, the hurricane season adds to the uncertainty of the weather, with a high probability of storms. Thunderstorms are frequent in the afternoons, with lightning and heavy rain. The usually calm ocean waters are turbulent, and it is prudent to stay away from the sea during the periods of storms.
The United States Virgin Islands
are prone to thunderstorms and hurricanes from July
. Wind-speeds above 100mph (160.9km/h) and heavy rainfall cause large scale damage to the environment. Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused substantial damage in 2017, and signify the frequent danger of these storms to the islands. Earthquakes occasionally occur, and the threat of a resultant tsunami always exists near the coast. The islands have a shortage of natural freshwater sources. The result is severe droughts during the dry season. Frequent floods pose a threat during periods of intense rainfall.
Weather in January
is the coldest month of the year in the United States Virgin Islands
, with average temperatures in the mild range of 72°F (22.2°C) to 85°F (29.4°C). Temperatures are slightly lower in the northern islands where the rainfall is more than the southern islands, such as Saint Croix. January receives an average of 2.4" (61mm) of rainfall during 14 wet days in the month. Weather in January »
Weather in February
is a relatively dry month in the United States Virgin Islands
with 1.5" (38mm) of rainfall. The blue skies are a great motivation to stay outdoors, either on the water or on the white sandy beaches. Mornings are usually the best time on the sand, followed by evenings. The average temperatures are in the comfortable range of 73°F (22.8°C) to 85°F (29.4°C), with the peak temperature during the day below 88°F (31.1°C). Weather in February »
Weather in March
is the driest month of the year in the United States Virgin Islands
with only 1.4" (36mm) of rain. The average temperatures are in the comfortable 73°F (22.8°C) to 86°F (30°C) range, and the heat index is bearable due to the moderate humidity. Early morning is the best time to visit the beaches and enjoy the mild waters lapping towards the shore. Weather in March »
Weather in April
brings a transition from the dry to the wet season in United States Virgin Islands
. The extended dry periods give way to intermittent patches of moderate precipitation. The average rainfall rises to 2.7" (69mm) as the skies become partly cloudy. Weather in April »
Weather in May
sees the return of the wet season in the United States Virgin Islands
, as the humidity increases. The average temperatures register in the 76°F (24.4°C) to 88°F (31.1°C) range, with a significant rise in the heat index. The easterly winds, which chased the cloud cover earlier, are present only for short periods, resulting in partly cloudy skies. Precipitation is more on the windward side of the mountains and the northern islands of the archipelago. Weather in May »
Weather in June
is the beginning of the hurricane season in the United States Virgin Islands
. The probability of a tropical storm increases exponentially with the advance of the season. Thunderstorms occasionally occur in the islands and contribute significantly to the 2.5" (64mm) of rainfall in the month. The average high temperature reaches 89°F (31.7°C) during the day, while the nights remain register slightly up at 78°F (25.6°C). Weather in June »
Weather in July
is a hot month in the United States Virgin Islands
, with average temperatures in the range of 78°F (25.6°C) to 90°F (32.2°C). The wet season advances across the entire region, to bring 2.9" (74mm) of rainfall in the month. Weather in July »
Weather in August
is the hottest month of the year in the United States Virgin Islands
, with the average temperatures in the range of 78°F (25.6°C) to 90°F (32.2°C). Many places, including Charlotte Amalie, see daily maximums above 91°F (32.8°C) at the peak of the summer. Weather in August »
Weather in September
is the wettest month in the United States Virgin Islands
with 5.6" (142mm) of rain. The conditions are hot and humid, although it rains for an average of 16 days in the month. The sunlight is oppressive due to the increase in the humidity, and it is imperative to wear sunscreen. The average temperatures are in the 78°F (25.6°C) to 90°F (32.2°C) range, with very few days above 95°F (35°C). Weather in September »
Weather in October
lies in the eye of the wet season in the United States Virgin Islands
with at least 15 rainy days. The average precipitation is to the tune of 5.4" (137mm), with periods of heavy rain. Day temperatures drop slightly, to register a high of 89°F (31.7°C), while nights dip to 77°F (25°C), on average. Weather in October »
Weather in November
is the last month of the wet season in the United States Virgin Islands
with an average rainfall of 5.3" (135mm). The average temperatures drop slightly to register in the 75°F (23.9°C) to 87°F (30.6°C) range. The easterly trade winds are still weak, and the skies are partly cloudy. Weather in November »
Weather in December
begins the transition to pleasant weather in the United States Virgin Islands
. The skies remain blue for the majority of the time, even though the month receives 3" (76mm) of precipitation. The average temperatures dip in the 74°F (23.3°C) to 86°F (30°C) and the conditions are comfortable due to the drop in humidity. Weather in December »