June 1-November 30 (any year): As the tropical weather season begins, we all hope for the best. If we are wise, we will also prep for the worst. We know all to well the consequence of taking anything for granted when it comes to tropical storm systems. A sudden strengthening, a slight wobble, and any one of us could be in the path of a killer storm. Message boards for vacationers to the Caribbean are littered with the same question, over and over: “I am planning to come down and I hear there is going to be a hurricane. Should I come anyway?” Scanning the national weather outlets does not give that last soupçon of information to put a mind at ease or set the course for a hasty rearrangement of a travel itinerary. Likewise, family members and those who have friends that live in the Caribbean are frustrated by jammed phone and cellular lines coupled with the inability to obtain current details on storms that affect the independent island nations and the British and U.S. territories of the Caribbean. Caribia Digest hereby offers a collection of web sites and media outlets to turn to in addition to the conventional ones currently in use.
Hurricane season brings the need for more information on tropical weather and its impact on the islands of the Caribbean
The only traditional source I will mention here is NOAA: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for its graphic views and projections, as well as the National Hurricane Center. Additionally, travelers need to seriously consider investing in trip cancellation insurance, available from your travel agent or online. Visit TravelGuard or any other reputable company. When in doubt, check with a travel agent; their knowledge and experience at this time are invaluable!!!
While you are on your vacation, should you hear of a tropical weather system approaching, don’t panic and assume that you must leave. Your rental management agency, resort or hotel manager should be your first stop for determining if anything other than temporarily taking in the furniture on the patio will be necessary. Keep your airline’s phone numbers handy; if you have to rebook your flights you can do so without delay. Keep in mind that refunds on nights unused in your lodgings or days unused on your rental car (and of course change penalties levied by the airlines) will need to be researched and/or negotiated; get as much information as you can while making new arrangements, and write down the names and extensions of everyone you speak with on the telephone. Hold on to all emails and confirmation pages if you are working online. Trip cancellation insurance comes with its limitations, so you may need all of this after the dust settles so that you can settle up!
Family and friends trying to reach the Caribbean before, during or after any storm will have difficulty, to be sure. Local providers prefer that communications in and out be limited to those providing services to the communities themselves, while recognizing the need to connect with loved ones. Try to create structured methods of connecting that will not be frustrating. Ahead of time, let your loved ones know that you will await word from them instead of repeatedly trying to call. After the storm, avail yourself of local radio stations and newspapers to track down missing persons, as well as the Red Cross. Here is a good list to get you started on staying in touch and up to date during tropical weather season in the Caribbean:
All At Sea – Features Caribbean Weather link, marine interests, take note!
Storm Carib – Local correspondents contribute unique perspectives here
Weather Carib – Serving the VI and Caribbean since 1998