Roatan is one of the Bay Islands of Honduras in the Caribbean. The island itself is approximately 48 miles long and 5 miles wide. Even though Roatan is located in the Caribbean, they do not have warm, sunny and beautiful weather all year long. Between October and January, the weather on the island is rainy, stormy and cool. However, the sun comes out and the temperatures rise during the months of March through August.
The one thing that people on Roatan rarely need to worry about are hurricanes. The island is not located inside the hurricane belt and it is also surrounded by barrier reefs. Between 1851 and 2010, there have been only 19 tropical storms, 6 category one hurricanes, 6 category two hurricanes, 2 category three hurricanes, 1 category four hurricane and 1 category five hurricane. However, even with these hurricanes, the damage is usually limited by the protection from the reef and shallow waters that surround Roatan.
There were three different decades when there were no tropical storms or hurricanes near the island at all. The decade that includes 1930 to 1939 had the most storms, with a total of 7 tropical storms and hurricanes combined. Both the category four and five hurricanes have happened in more recent years. The category four was on October 8, 2001 and the category five was on October 28, 1998.
Hurricane Iris was the category four hurricane that slammed into Roatan on October 8, 2001. This storm started as a tropical depression and quickly turned into a hurricane within two days. When the storm had started to form, it was headed in a west-northwest direction, but quickly changed course to the west and southwest. The 140 mile per hour winds damaged not only Roatan, but Belize, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. This storm was responsible for 31 deaths in all.
Hurricane Mitch was the category five hurricane that struck Roatan and other countries on October 28, 1998 and in later days when the hurricane began to re-form and become stronger again. As strong as hurricane Mitch had become, by the time it hit the coast of Honduras, it was down to a category one hurricane. However, that did not keep Honduras from becoming flooded from the heavy rains. There were over 9,000 deaths from hurricane Mitch in Central America alone and another 9,000 people were missing. Once hurricane Mitch re-formed and hit Florida, it was responsible for another two deaths there. This storm was so bad that it affected countries and people from Central America all of the way up to the British Isles and Iceland.
The Real Deal
But these are very isolated incidents. Compared to other Caribbean destinations, Roatan does not have as many hurricanes. In fact, the Cayman Islands have been hit 85 times by a hurricane in the same time frame. That makes the Cayman Islands over seven times as likely to be hit by a hurricane than Roatan. So make sure you avoid the rainy season, but Roatan hurricanes should be the least of your worries!
The Guide includes:
- Roatan secrets only the locals know
- Hand-drawn maps to help you navigate West Bay
- Detailed information about the best resorts, restaurants, and activities
- Money saving tips for Roatan
- And MORE!