Caribbean Islands : Facts and Figures

Sunshine and Storms The Caribbean’s tropical climate attracts visitors from around the world eager to soak up the sunshine. Average temperatures range from about 75°F to 90°F (23°C to 32°C). High humidity may make for sweaty conditions, but the cooling trade winds , which blow from the northeast, take the edge off the heat. The region’s rainy season lasts from May to October. This is also the hur- ricane season, a time when powerful storms lash the islands. With heavy rains and winds that may reach 160 miles (257 km) per hour, hurricanes can cause devastating damage to life and property when they hit land. A storm that swept through the Lesser Antilles in 1780 killed a record 22,000 people. About six hurricanes develop annually in the region, but most remain at sea and never reach the coast. The ABC Islands enjoy vastly different weather; they lie outside of the hurricane path and are relatively dry. Aruba receives only about 17 inches (43 centimeters) of rainfall annually. This number differs greatly from Jamaica’s 77 inches (196 cm) of rain per year.

TEXT-DEPENDENT QUESTIONS 1. What are the ABC islands? Where are they located? 2. What country is home to both the highest and lowest points in the Caribbean? 3. During what months do hurricanes occur in the Caribbean Sea?

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