The DR1 weather page seeks to answer the most frequently asked questions by our readers.
What will the weather be like? Unless there is a rare tropical wave or storm in the vicinity, the 300+ day forecast for the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean, in general, is year round partly sunny or partly cloudy with a possibility of a brief shower. Take note that most of the rain occurs at sunrise, late in the afternoon or at night. Thus, you should make sure to pack lots of sunblock and a cap or hat for the sun. Is there a time of the year when it rains less? What the weather will be like at a specific time of the year in the Caribbean should bear the least on your choice of time to visit. Focus more on whether you need to flee a specially hot summer or a specially cold winter. Weather in the Dominican Republic varies very slightly year round.
December-April: These are the “cooler” months, when the temperature may descend to 18C (66F) on February mornings. Noon time temperatures on those same days are usually up to 28C (83F). Thus, you may want to bring a jacket or light sweater if you are traveling to the DR at that time of the year. During these months, expect windy evenings along the East Coast/Punta Cana area.
March-April: Throughout the country are the breezy months, time for flying kites. In fact, kites are sold on major thoroughfares during Easter holiday time.
May-June: Is historically the wettest time of the year. But the El Niño and La Niña phenomenoms have altered these patterns. The most common weather forecast nationwide continues to be “partly cloudy or partly sunny with a chance of a short shower.” Note it is more likely to rain in the afternoons than in the mornings.
August-September: This is the peak of the hurricane season (June 1-30 November) for the Caribbean. Caribbean hurricanes in June and July are rare because the waters are not warm enough to generate the appropriate conditions for these to develop. August and September are also the two hottest months of the year, with temperatures peaking at 32-34C (90-94F).
October-November: Like May-June, these used to be the wettest months of the year, but weather patterns have shifted. Rainstorms in the Caribbean are not like rainstorms in northern latitudes. In the Caribbean, they usually last less than five minutes and then the sun shines again. While many Dominican pedestrians have their umbrellas, Dominicans do not own raincoats.
Will beach temperatures vary? As with the weather in general, the difference in temperature of the water varies only slightly year round nationwide. Unless there is a cold front in the area, the average temperature island wide will be around 80-82F (26-27C). Dominicans in the past would stay away from the beaches from November to April (Easter Week), but in recent years the warmer temperatures have extended the beach season year round, even for Dominicans.
Is one coast better than another for weather? The Dominican Republic is a big island. It can be all sunny skies on one coast, and raining on another. The drier area of the country is the Southwest (Barahona, Bani and Azua). Next follows the southeastern and eastern coastal areas including Boca Chica, Juan Dolio and La Romana (Bayahibe) and Punta Cana. The wettest area of the country is Samana, followed by Puerto Plata. But these are also the most lush areas. The natural beauty compensates for the day or two of rain. There is a 40% chance, for instance that it could rain for two or three days during your Christmas or New Year's vacation in Samana or Puerto Plata. On the positive side, Puerto Plata has not known a hurricane, yet. Always remember, these are tropical rains that are warm. Strolling in the tropics under warm rain is romantic and lovely, too.
Will my trip be rained out? The odds are heavily stacked in your favor. If you will be here for a week, chances are that you will have at least four good days. Reality is that the DR gets very few rainy days. And these are usually showers. While these may be hard, they will last a very short time. The exception is if there is a tropical wave or storm in the area. You can check these out on the Internet by visiting any of the links provided in the list below.
How accurate are the 10-day weather forecasts? You can't expect a great deal of accuracy when you're trying to predict weather five or more days in advance. There is no such thing as a 10-day accurate forecast. Much less a 15-day forecast. Those following the online weather forecasts, even those made from one day to another, will find serious differences. Take those for what they are: guesses. And the bad weather typically doesn't last all day long. All the storm icons online are just telling you it might (or might not) rain sometime in the day. A day when it rains and you have cloudy skies all day long is the exception, not the norm in the Caribbean.
Why are forecasts of t-storms so common? Anyone guiding themselves by the continuous scattered thunderstorms forecasts on the online weather services would think it rains as much in the Caribbean as it does in London. The Caribbean would not be the Caribbean if this were the case. Weather forecasts do not realistically describe the weather in the Dominican Republic, as experience tells. One explanation for the continued inaccuracies is that the services need to make one little icon fit a whole 24-hour day. They do not reflect that weather in the Caribbean is volatile. It can be shining all morning, and then clouds set in and there is a sudden burst of strong intense but short-lived rain. Then may come an evening of a sky full of shining stars. All without the temperature changing more than three or four degrees at most. With the abovementioned points having been made, for a general reference on weather conditions at different locations in the Dominican Republic, see Online weather forecast
How cold does it get in the winter? The weather changes only slightly from season to season in the DR. Average year round temperature on the coasts ranges from 25-34C (77-93F). Chillier temperatures can be found in the mountain peaks, with the coldest in the Cordillera Central mountain range (Valle Nuevo and Pico Duarte), where temperatures below freezing point have been registered. But even in the mountain cities, like Jarabacoa and Constanza, the average temperature ranges from 18-28C (66-84F). Weather on the south coast is warmer (1 or 2 degrees C), than on the north and northeastern coasts. It can get windy in Punta Cana-Bavaro area. Of course if you will be visiting a mountain area, bring a warm sweater.
How common is bad weather? If you are coming for a week, while there are no guarantees, chances of you being caught in a bad spell of several days of rain are scant. Again, check the weather satellites to check for a tropical wave or storms in the summer, or a cold front coming down from the north in the winter, which while it may not necessarily bring rains, will bring chilly weather of 20-25C. (68-77F)
How to tell if a tropical wave or cold front is in the area? The Internet is a great resource, and there are many web sites that will tell you about bad weather. In fact, the Internet empowers almost anyone to become an amateur weather expert. See the satellite views Check out the tropical weather discussion At DR1 Weather & Beyond feel free to ask about the weather in the area where you will be traveling. Chances are there is a community member who is a resident in that area who will get back to you with the day's weather. Remember questions like what the weather will be five days or more days in advance cannot be answered with but guesses or generalities.
What is the difference between a storm and a hurricane? In the Caribbean, tropical storms are classified into four categories according to their degree of organization and maximum sustained wind speed. These are: Tropical wave (disturbance). Unorganized mass of rain showers, with some thunder or lightning, if any, and very little if any organized wind circulation. Tropical depression. These will be numbered to facilitate the following by the National Hurricane Center (NHC of Miami). There is first evidence of closed wind circulation around a center with sustained winds of 23-39 mph (37-62 kph). Tropical storm. These are named to avoid confusion when more than one storm is being followed at the same time. A storm is named when its winds reach a strength of 39-73 mph (63-118 kph). Hurricane. Major storm occurring in the Atlantic with winds over 73 mph or 118 kph.
How to follow hurricanes in the DR DR1 has prepared its own DR1 Hurricane Page that is updated annually on occasion of the hurricane season that starts 1 June. This page seeks to answer most of the questions received at DR1 over the past 12 years of covering hurricanes for the general public, as well as provides more detailed information sites for those wanting to learn more about these phenomenon. If you will be traveling to the area during the hurricane season, you might consider subscribing to DR1 Daily News or visiting the DR1 Weather & Beyond Forum to check out the recent weather reports or ask questions.