What You Should Know About Aruba Weather, Rain, Storms, Earthquakes

It is hot, really hot on this island. But it is bearable, mainly due to the constant trade winds. Aruba runs on the weather. Weather makes or breaks any tourist destination, just like Aruba’s. This island is lucky to have amazing weather year around.

Most locals find our local weather a nuisance. In fact, most fellow islanders put effort to avoid the weather by staying indoors as much as possible, preferably in ice-cold air conditioning or alternatively in the shade. We “run” away from the weather.

Visitors, on the other side, soak in as much sun-hours as possible, bordering on to catching nasty sunburns.

In this post, I’m diving deep into Aruba weather issues revealing interesting, factual and publicly available information.


Location

The location of Aruba is the southern Caribbean, in the lower Antilles, just off the northern coast of Venezuela, about 17 miles (27 kilometers) away. Aruba’s climate is considered to be tropical, semi-arid. The sub-classification is hot semi-arid desert climate.

In layman’s terms, it means that Aruba has a predominantly hot and humid climate, with a lot of sun-hours, constant trade winds, and cacti everywhere.

Temperature

The average temperature in Aruba in 2016 was 83.8 degrees Fahrenheit (28.8 degrees Celsius).

August and September were the warmest of the year at average 85.8° F (29.9° C) and January was the coldest month of the year at average 81° F (27.2° C).

The absolute hottest it got in 2016 in Aruba was 95.2° F (35.1° C) in August, while the absolute coldest temperature recorded in Aruba was 74.1° F (23.4° C) in November.

The average yearly humidity is 75.8%.

Sun

Unfortunately, sun-hour data for 2016 was not available at the time of writing.

Rain

Aruba had precipitation of 16.9 inches (427.9 millimeters) in 2016, which is 1.7 inches (43.9 millimeters) or 9.3% below average.

Jan - MarApr - JunJul - SepOct - Dec
3.2%6.2%29.8%60.7%

Percentage distribution rain per quarter 2016

Above table shows how the rain is distributed throughout the year. Bear in mind that in November 2016 Aruba had a severe rain storm that skewered the number somewhat.

Normally when it rains, the showers tend to be stern but relatively short. Short as in minutes, where after the clouds move away and the sun shines again.

Storms

Atlantic Hurricane Season date is from June 1 to November 30 every year. Aruba is located in the Atlantic Basin where hurricanes occur. However, Aruba lies outside the so-called “hurricane belt.” The hurricane belt is the area in the Caribbean that historically is hit by hurricanes most. It is a similar theory as the tornado alley in the United States.


Major hurricanes since the 1950s

Mainland South America sometimes serves as a shoulder of protection for the Southern Caribbean. Storms tend to quickly lose strength when it touches land. ABC News wrote a nice piece about this topic.

Below you can see the aftermath of the hurricanes almost 10 years ago. While researching for this article I came across old photos and a video I shot back then. Again, images and video are old, almost a decade old, pre-iPhone or Samsung quality. My apologies.

Wind speed

Wind speed in Aruba is measured at a height of 32.8 feet (10 meters) at the local airport.The yearly wind speed average in 2016 was 16.8 mph (27 kph).

The yearly average wind speed in 2016 was 16.8 mph (27 kph). The highest average wind speed was 20.8 mph (33.5 kph) and occurred in June 2016. The lowest average wind speed was 8.7 mph (14 kph) and occurred in November 2016.

Earthquakes in Aruba

Every so often I receive inquiries asking whether Aruba is prone to earthquakes or not. I was born and raised on this island and I cannot recollect ever experiencing a major seismic event. However, during my research, I came across interesting information.

Does our ground shake near Aruba? Indeed it does. Does is shake much? No, it does not.

In 2016 there were 9 significant seismic events in the vicinity of Aruba. The weakest event was 2.5 on the Richter Magnitude Scale and the strongest was 3.8. I took the coordinates and put them in Google Maps for a better overview.

 

The strongest earthquake of 2016 happened early morning on October 1st, 2016 at 4:16 AM, local time. It measured at 3.8. The epicenter was in the territorial waters of Venezuela at a distance of about 61 miles (98 kilometers) off our coast.

The closest seismic event of that year happened on February 3rd, 2016 at a distance of about 11 miles (17 kilometers) off our coast and was 2.5 on the Richter Magnitude Scale, and was also the weakest.

Most people don’t comprehend the Richter Magnitude Scale. Neither do I.  United States Geological Survey defines it as follows:

1.0 to 2.9 Richter Magnitude Scale:
I. Not felt except by a very few under especially favorable conditions.

3.0 to 3.9 Richter Magnitude Scale:
II. Felt only by a few persons at rest, especially on upper floors of buildings.
III. Felt quite noticeably by persons indoors, especially on upper floors of buildings. Many people do not recognize it as an earthquake. Standing motor cars may rock slightly. Vibrations similar to the passing of a truck. Duration estimated.

If you wonder about earthquakes in your area, United States Geological Survey maintains an interactive map with the latest earthquakes worldwide.

Tips and Suggestions

In 2016 Aruba hosted almost 1.8 million visitors (stay over and cruise travelers), which translates to almost 16 times its population. This in and of itself is quite an accomplishment. Just for kicks, multiply your country’s population by factor 16 to see how ridiculous that number really is.

Most visitors are here for our weather. Sometimes the weather will surprise you, mother nature is unpredictable. Don’t let that discourage you, however. Most “weather” passes by quickly and it will return back to “normal.”

In case you find yourself in a prolonged period of rain, just make sure to find activities that will allow the time to pass. Admittedly, our tourism ecosystem isn’t really well prepared for prolonged rain periods, but why should it be. It’s like having snow plows in Aruba, “just in case.” Makes no sense.

Some hotels (just a handful) offer indoor activities, but for the most part, it’s going to be difficult.

Do not underestimate the sun, it takes only about 10 minutes exposure to get a nasty sunburn. Please take the necessary precautionary measures, don’t let a sunburn ruin your stay.

Should you have further comments or questions you can do that below.

Source: weather data is provided by the Department of Meteorology Aruba (DMA) unless otherwise stated.

Additional sources: Wikipedia, Wikiwand, USGS

Published by

Gabriel

Former Aruba tour guide, trying to provide value to Aruba travelers.

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