Overview of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season for Dominica

The Atlantic Hurricane Season officially ended on Wednesday, November 30. The August 2016 predictions by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the Atlantic Hurricane season was for 12–17 named storms, of which 5–8 were expected to become hurricanes, including 2–4 major hurricanes. The activity for the season resulted in the formation of 16 tropical cyclones. 15 were named storms, 7 of which intensified to hurricane status and 3 major hurricanes. For the Atlantic, this is the first above-normal season since 2012.

Throughout the 2016 season a series of tropical weather systems affected the island of Dominica. Tropical Storm Matthew, which formed just east of the Lesser Antilles on September 28, was the only cyclone that impacted Dominica during the period. The system moved south of Dominica from the 28 to 29 of September and produced strong winds gusting to tropical storm force, periods of moderate to heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms. Dominica was placed under a Tropical Storm Warning from 11:00 AM on September 28 to 5:00 AM on September 29. Thankfully, only minimal damage was reported. Other tropical systems that generated significant weather activity across Dominica were mainly tropical waves and trough systems which closed out the season by generating significant rainfall across Dominica on November 28 to 29.

The end of the hurricane season is not an indication to let down our guard. Other weather systems and in particular trough systems frequently produce severe weather across the region outside of the official hurricane season. Dominica is highly vulnerable to hydro-meteorological hazards and the meteorological service continues to implore to the public to pay attention to the all too frequent hazards including flooding, strong wind and landslides. This means that although significant, less focus should be placed on whether the island is under a tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning and greater attention must be given to the local hazards particularly of flooding and landslides that pose an imminent threat to vulnerable communities. Therefore, always be prepared. Every effort should be made by the public to keep inform on weather conditions and importantly to access information from trusted sources and responsible organizations.