Turks & Caicos Islands Weather
Year round weather across the Turks and Caicos Islands is generally predictable, pleasant and mild with about 350 days of sunshine year round. The heat of the tropical sun is tempered by ideal trade winds blowing from the east, 10-15 mph, and the surrounding cooler water of the Atlantic Ocean.
It is cooler in the winter, 75˚F-80˚F / 24˚C-27˚C (December through to March) and hotter during the peak months of the summer hurricane season, 80˚F-90˚F / 27˚F – 31˚F (August to November). The ocean is also cooler in the winter 74˚F -78˚F / 23˚C -26˚C than the summer 82˚F – 84˚F / 28˚C – 29˚C.
Rainfall is small with an average of about 21” in the East (Turks Islands) and up to 40” in the West (Provo and North Caicos).
The Turks and Caicos Islands experience a dry climate. Some islands are certainly drier or wetter than other islands and much of this is due to the geography of the archipelago.
Islands that lie in the east of the island chain, like Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos are significantly drier than those in the west. No wonder the salt trade boomed here in its heyday. With an annual average of 21”, days and months can go by without any rain whatsoever. Water on these islands is scare and like all the islands the vast majority of fresh water comes from desalination water plants. (Reverse osmosis)
Moving westward, the Islands become wetter. North Caicos, Parrot Cay, Pine Cay and the Leeward area of Provo experience the most rain, up to 40” per year. While drier spells do occur, short rain showers are more common. The vast intertidal zone of the mangrove flats, that stretch the entire width of the Caicos Bank, allow for daily evaporation to occur as the sun heats up these super shallow waters. Stunning bands of towering cumulonimbus clouds form in the east and travel west often releasing rain either on the land or over the sea. As such, it can be bone dry in one spot and soaking wet in another. All said and done rainstorms are often short lived. They are however vital to the ecology of these islands.
More often than not we experience a gentle breeze in the form of a traditional trade wind from the east.
As such the eastern sides of the islands (facing the sunrise) are the windward sides of the islands. Those areas on the west are therefore the leeward side (facing the sunset) and as such it is more often calmer.
We do get stronger trade winds 20-25 mph that can sometimes blow for a week straight. These are caused by larger weather systems in the Caribbean region.
During the winter months Turks and Caicos often experience intense storms from the west. These weather systems are generated in the continental United States and bring with them cooler, colder wind and water.
It is these systems that make boating, snorkeling and diving very difficult, as the ocean becomes extremely rough and visibility is severely diminished. In times like these it is time to look beyond and explore the other islands.
Generally speaking these islands experience waves, known as wind chop, most of the time. Small 1-3’ waves are whipped up by our trade winds and are consistent with wind strength.
Summer water conditions are certainly calmer than its winter counterpart due to the lighter winds.
Swell – very large waves are firstly only really prevalent on the north shore, along the barrier reef. Secondly, they are not common. They are signs of large westerly systems in the winter about to arrive, or typically they are remnants of big summer storms, systems or hurricanes passing to north, deep in the Atlantic.
The Tropical Atlantic hurricane season starts on 1st June and ends on 30th November.
While hurricanes are normal and common in the Caribbean region, they are also an essential part of worldwide weather and the planets’ heat distribution system.
The first three months of the season, June, July and August are actually some of the best three months of the year with hurricanes a rarity. Water, weather and wind conditions are absolutely ideal for all activities, ranging from boating to kiteboarding and everything in between.
September and October are peak hurricane season and by and large if a storm should arrive it is during this period. That said, like November, the island is super quiet, the beaches are empty and there are lots of deals to be had. If you watch the weather and follow updates, trips to the TCI can be absolute golden. You’ll have the place to yourselves.