Surprising Caribbean Weather: Westerly winds in the Windwards and Leewards

With the prevailing Eastern tradewinds that characterize Caribbean weather at this time of year, cruising boats seek shelter in bays with protection from wind and waves coming from an Easterly direction. Typically these bays are along the Islands’ western shores, hence a large amount of cruising boats were taken by surprise by this week’s cold front and high westerly winds.

Published 7 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Chris Parker’s SSB Net gave ample notice of westerly winds in the Windwards and Leewards caused by an unusual approaching cold front, information which in turn was relayed to several Eastern Caribbean Facebook groups.

This from the Caribbean Navigator Facebook Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/caribbeannavigator/

For a lot of Lesser Antilles, a cold front is coming down Monday-Tuesday. Winds veering from 80 as far as 180 degrees in southern islands, further north Dominica To Anguilla we might see wind directions veering past 180 to 330 degrees. VI’s veering around the compass past 180 to 350 degrees. 

Wind speeds do not look excessive but when coming from unusual directions it may require your anchor to reset over a large angle. 

Choose your anchorages carefully this weekend. 

Sources, Parker and Denis wx nets.

That was four or five days notice before high westerly winds finally arrived on Tuesday, Feb 21st.

Ken Goodings reports that anchorages such as St Georges, Grenada; Hillsborough, Carriacou; Most of the Grenadines; Pitons, Soufriere and Rodney Bay, St Lucia; St Anne, Les Anses D’Arlet and St Pierre, Martinique; Les Saintes and Deshais in Guadeloupe; All these have been exposed to large swells and strange winds from the West this season.

This was the third time since last October that western winds and swells have penetrated normally protected Western anchorages in this region.

Even during the off-hurricane season in Eastern Caribbean, it’s still very important to listen to the various weather resources that are available to cruisers to prevent weather surprises like this last one, which hit Martinique especially hard.

Denis hosts a weather network at 0745 Atlantic time on 4.420 MHz

Chris Parker is on Mon-Sat at 0700 Atlantic time on 4.045 and 8.137 MHz

https://www.mwxc.com

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