Discover the 10 Most Hurricane-Prone Caribbean Islands

Written by Shreya Agrawal
Updated: September 11, 2023
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The Caribbean region is a tropical paradise known for its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and vibrant cultures. However, its geographical location also makes it highly susceptible to the devastating impact of hurricanes. Each year, during the Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts from June to November, these powerful storms can wreak havoc on the islands. These storms cause loss of life, spread widespread destruction, and result in severe economic impacts on these island nations.

An overview of the 10 Most Hurricane-Prone Caribbean Islands.

1. Puerto Rico

Beautiful Sun Bay beach with small fishing boats and people relaxing located on the tropical Caribbean island of Vieques Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is the Caribbean island that is most impacted by hurricanes.

©NickSpinder/Shutterstock.com

Known for its rich history and vibrant culture, Puerto Rico is an enchanting island in the Caribbean. As an unincorporated U.S. territory, it offers a unique blend of American influences and Hispanic heritage. it boasts breathtaking landscapes, including lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and towering mountains.

Visitors are drawn to the historic city of Old San Juan with its colorful colonial buildings. Nature enthusiasts can also explore El Yunque National Forest, a tropical paradise teeming with biodiversity. Overall, Puerto Rico’s warm hospitality, flavorful cuisine, and lively music and dance make it a favorite destination among travelers.

Puerto Rico also ranks high among the most hurricane-prone Caribbean islands. Its geographical location in the northeastern Caribbean makes it susceptible to direct hits from hurricanes. Notably, Hurricane Maria in 2017 was one of the most devastating hurricanes in the island’s history. It caused extensive damage to infrastructure, cut off power, and left the island in a humanitarian crisis for months.

In response to its vulnerability, Puerto Rico has been actively working on improving disaster preparedness and response measures. Initiatives include enhancing infrastructure resilience, developing early warning systems, and educating the public on hurricane preparedness.

2. Cuba

Cuba relief map

Due to Cuba’s location and size in the Caribbean, it has often been impacted by hurricanes.

©bogdanserban/ via Getty Images

Cuba is a captivating island nation that contains both an old-world charm and a vibrant spirit. Having an extensive history, the country also boasts well-preserved colonial architecture. This is particularly true in Havana, where classic cars line the streets and live music fills the air. Cuba is known for its lush countryside, including tobacco fields in ViƱales and pristine beaches in Varadero. The island’s warm and welcoming people add to its allure. Visitors often embrace the opportunity to experience Cuba’s rich culture through its dance, music, and distinct culinary traditions.

In addition to being the largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba lies in the hurricane belt and is regularly impacted by tropical cyclones and hurricanes. Due to its size, it often experiences extensive damage across different regions when hurricanes make landfall. It experiences an average of two to three hurricanes annually. One of the most notorious hurricanes in Cuba’s history was Hurricane Irma in 2017, which caused widespread destruction and affected millions of people. Hurricane Sandy in 2012, caused severe destruction and loss of life on the island.

Cuba’s risk from hurricanes is amplified by its elongated shape, which often exposes multiple regions to the storm’s impacts. To mitigate these impacts, Cuba has implemented a proactive disaster management system. Therefore, the country’s well-organized civil defense program focuses on evacuations, shelter management and community preparedness, reducing the loss of life during hurricanes.

3. The Dominican Republic

Bayahibe beach, Dominican Republic

Known for its pristine beaches, The Dominican Republic has been impacted by hurricane activity.

©Lena Serditova/Shutterstock.com

The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. It is a captivating blend of stunning landscapes and lively culture. This diverse nation offers something for every traveler, from the white-sand beaches and luxury resorts of Punta Cana to the historic charm of Santo Domingo, the oldest European settlement in the Americas. Beyond its beautiful coastline, the Dominican Republic’s lush rainforests, picturesque mountains, and cascading waterfalls invite exploration and adventure. The country’s vibrant music, dance, and cuisine reflect its African, European, and indigenous heritage.

The country also faces a considerable threat from hurricanes. Due to its large size and diverse topography, the impacts of hurricanes can vary significantly across different regions. On average, the Dominican Republic experiences around two hurricanes each year. Notable hurricanes that have impacted the country include Hurricane David in 1979 and Hurricane Georges in 1998.

The country has implemented policies to strengthen infrastructure, improve early warning systems, and enhance community preparedness. Educational campaigns on hurricane safety have been instrumental in minimizing casualties during hurricane events.

4. Haiti

Town off of Port-au-Prince Haiti

Due to poverty and failing infrastructure, Haiti can often suffer the worst impacts from hurricanes in the Caribbean.

©iStock.com/Stephen Howard

Haiti, located on the western side of Hispaniola, is a land of rich history and resilience, a unique blend of African, French, and Caribbean influences. Its vibrant art, music, and spiritual traditions are a testament to the strength of its culture. The country’s stunning landscapes range from misty mountains to palm-fringed beaches, offering visitors a diverse and visually striking experience. While still recovering from past challenges, Haiti’s warm and friendly people warmly welcome visitors, eager to share their heritage and traditions.

Haiti is one of the most hurricane-prone countries in the Caribbean. The nation’s vulnerability is further compounded by factors such as deforestation, inadequate infrastructure, and widespread poverty.

In the aftermath of significant hurricanes like Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the focus has been on post-disaster recovery. This involves rebuilding resilient communities and implementing sustainable development projects to reduce vulnerability.

5. The Bahamas

Paradise Island Bahamas panoramic aerial view

The Bahamas consists of over 700 islands that are in danger from hurricanes.

©tokar/Shutterstock.com

A tropical paradise composed of over 700 islands and cays, The Bahamas entices travelers with its crystalline waters and soft, sandy beaches. Each island in this archipelago offers a unique charm, from the bustling atmosphere of Nassau with its vibrant markets and historic sites, to the serene Out Islands, which are perfect for secluded getaways.

The Bahamas’ clear turquoise waters also provide exceptional opportunities for snorkeling, diving, and water sports, and its rich marine life makes it a favored destination for eco-tourism. The islands also boast a rich cultural heritage, which is showcased through local festivals, Junkanoo parades, and traditional crafts.

Its location in the Caribbean makes The Bahamas highly vulnerable to hurricanes, especially due to its extensive coastline and low-lying topography. The islands experience an average of one to two hurricanes every year. Hurricane Dorian in 2019 was one of the most catastrophic storms to hit the region. It caused severe damage and left thousands displaced.

Recognizing its vulnerability, the Bahamas government has taken measures to improve building codes, construct hurricane-resistant infrastructure, and establish early warning systems to enhance disaster preparedness and response capabilities.

6. Jamaica

Aerial View Of A Cliff In Portland Jamaica

Known for its blue waters and wildlife, Jamaica also experiences several hurricanes every year.

©BigMike Photos/Shutterstock.com

Jamaica, a vibrant jewel in the heart of the Caribbean, beckons travelers with its captivating blend of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality. Known for its rhythmic reggae music, the island’s pulsating beats reflect the joyful spirit of its people. With its pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and majestic mountains, Jamaica offers a diverse array of landscapes to explore.

Visitors can indulge in thrilling adventures like climbing the iconic Dunn’s River Falls. They can also embark on a scenic river rafting journey, or immerse themselves in the history of the island’s sugar plantations. Jamaica also boasts a rich cultural tapestry, which is evident through its mouthwatering cuisine, vibrant festivals, and colorful crafts. Whether through savoring the flavors of jerk chicken, sipping on world-renowned Blue Mountain coffee, or exploring the bustling markets of Kingston, travelers are sure to create cherished memories on this enchanting island.

Jamaica frequently faces the impact of tropical storms and hurricanes. While the island has a relatively good track record in terms of preparedness and response, it remains vulnerable to the destructive power of hurricanes.

Efforts to strengthen Jamaica’s resilience include improvements in disaster risk reduction, building codes, and disaster response coordination. The country also actively engages in regional and international partnerships for disaster management and response.

7. Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean

Cityscape of the main street and yellow Santa Catalina arch in the historic city center of Antigua at sunrise with the Agua volcano, Guatemala.

The twin-island nation, Antigua and Barbuda, is known for its beautiful old colonial buildings.

©SL-Photography/Shutterstock.com

Antigua and Barbuda, a twin-island nation, invite visitors to enjoy their pristine beaches and turquoise waters, and interact with the friendly locals. Antigua’s 365 beaches, each for every day of the year, are a haven for sun-seekers and water sports enthusiasts. On the other hand, Barbuda offers a tranquil escape, known for its pink sand beaches and impressive bird sanctuary. The islands boast a rich maritime history, with historic sites like Nelson’s Dockyard and charming towns like St. John’s that offer a glimpse into their colonial past.

Antigua and Barbuda, two islands in the eastern Caribbean, are at risk of hurricanes due to their location. Hurricane Irma significantly impacted the islands in 2017, causing severe damage and disruption. On average, Antigua and Barbuda experience around one to two hurricanes annually. The nation has taken steps to improve its hurricane preparedness. This includes focusing on early warning systems, shelter management, and community awareness campaigns.

8. Grenada in the Caribbean

Annandale Falls Grenada - Waterfall

Grenada is known for its natural beauty such as the Annandale Falls.

©Landscapeography/Shutterstock.com

Known as the “Spice Isle,” Grenada is a captivating island with an abundance of natural beauty and flavors. Famous for its nutmeg and other spices, the island offers an aromatic journey through its spice plantations and vibrant markets. Visitors can explore the historical forts and beautiful gardens. They can also indulge in the unspoiled beaches and turquoise waters that surround the island.

The island experienced the devastation of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, causing extensive damage to infrastructure and agriculture. On average, Grenada experiences around one to two hurricanes per year. The nation has undertaken initiatives to enhance its preparedness, emphasizing climate-resilient infrastructure, evacuation planning, and disaster risk reduction measures.

9. Saint Lucia in the Caribbean

Most Beautiful Islands in the World - Saint Lucia

One of the most beautiful islands in the world, Saint Lucia was impacted by Hurricane Tomas in 2010.

©Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock.com

Saint Lucia is a tropical haven that captivates visitors with its lush landscapes and laid-back ambiance. The island’s iconic twin volcanic peaks, the Pitons, are a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of the island’s natural beauty. The warm waters of Saint Lucia offer fantastic snorkeling and diving opportunities. Its verdant rainforests also beckon hikers and nature enthusiasts. The island’s Creole culture and warm-hearted locals create an inviting and authentic experience for all who visit.

Saint Lucia is renowned for its natural beauty, but it is also at risk of hurricanes due to its location. The island is prone to flooding and wind damage during hurricane season. The island’s hilly terrain can exacerbate flood risks during heavy rainfall associated with hurricanes.

Notable hurricanes that impacted Saint Lucia include Hurricane Tomas in 2010. The island faces an average of one to two hurricanes annually. Despite its size, Saint Lucia has invested in improving its disaster preparedness by focusing on building codes, early warning systems, and community engagement to protect its residents during hurricanes.

10. Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean

Drone photo Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

The Turks and Caicos Islands are located in the northern Caribbean and are highly exposed to hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season.

©jpbarcelos/Shutterstock.com

Finally, Turks and Caicos, which is an enchanting archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, beckons travelers with its unparalleled natural beauty and serene ambiance. Comprising over 40 islands and cays, this British Overseas Territory is a paradise for beach lovers and water enthusiasts alike. Its powdery white-sand beaches, framed by crystal-clear turquoise waters, create a postcard-perfect setting for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Additionally, the islands’ coral reefs teem with vibrant marine life, offering superb snorkeling and diving experiences. Beyond its stunning coastline, Turks and Caicos also boasts a rich cultural heritage, blending Caribbean and British influences evident in its cuisine, music, and festivals. Visitors can explore historical landmarks like Cheshire Hall Plantation and Fort George, while also savoring local delicacies such as conch fritters and fresh seafood. With its welcoming locals, breathtaking landscapes, and idyllic atmosphere, Turks and Caicos invites travelers to discover a true island paradise.

The Turks and Caicos Islands are located in the northern Caribbean and are highly exposed to hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season. While direct hits are relatively infrequent, the islands still experience the impacts of passing hurricanes.

To address the risks, the government has focused on community preparedness, infrastructure resilience, and enhancing emergency response capacities. Additionally, efforts have been made to raise awareness among residents and tourists about hurricane safety measures.

Summary of 10 Most Hurricane Prone Islands in the Caribbean

RankIslandHurricane Impact
1.Puerto Rico3-4 hurricanes per year
2.Cuba2-3 hurricanes per year
3.Dominican Republic~2 hurricanes per year
4.Haiti~2 hurricanes per year
5.The Bahamas1-2 hurricanes per year
6.Jamaica1-2 hurricanes per year
7.Antigua and Barbuda1-2 hurricanes per year
8.Grenada1-2 hurricanes per year
9.Saint Lucia1-2 hurricanes per year
10.Turks and Caicos~ 1 hurricane every 2-7 years

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Ruth Peterkin


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About the Author

Shreya is a climate scientist. She also studies paleontology and evolutionary biology. She enjoys reading all kinds of literature and listening to rock music in her free time.

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