Barbados: 10 June 2022 to ...

Updated: 20 hours ago

A diary-style page about my time on the Caribbean island Barbados.

We arrived here on 10 June and plan to stay until 7 September, which is the standard 90 days for which British passport holders are usually waved into many countries.

The story so far: My partner, Maryke, and I started our digital nomad adventure in January 2020. The countries we've lived and worked in before Barbados are Thailand (Koh Samui), Greece (Crete), and Grenada. Obviously it's too late to have diary pages for them, but I'll add a retrospective page for each at some stage.

Thursday, 30 June, 2022: We dodged a cyclone

Or rather, a cyclone that never was dodged us.

The official Hurricane Season in the North Atlantic runs from 1 June to 30 November. As we arrived in Barbados, stories started appearing in the news to warn people to get ready for this year's season, so I read up on hurricanes.

For those of you who are as ignorant about the relevant terminology as I was until recently, here's a brief run-down:

  • Cyclones are severe low-pressure systems that swirl counterclockwise (looking from above, hopefully) in the North Atlantic and clockwise in the South Atlantic. They travel westwards.

  • A hurricane is a cyclone with a sustained wind speed of more than 118 km/h. Basically, if your hat doesn't have chin strap, you're fucked.

  • Less severe cyclones are called tropical depressions (wind speed of up to 62 km/h) or tropical storms (wind speed of 63 to 118 km/h).

  • Before a cyclone becomes a cyclone, it is an area of low pressure with winds and thunderstorms but no swirling. This is called a Tropical Disturbance. It is the job of the good folks at the USA's National Hurricane Center in Miami to spot these as they form over the North Atlantic and forecast their likely trajectory and the probability of them becoming cyclones.

Our cyclone-that-wasn't was due to hit Barbados two days ago. The screenshot below shows the tropical disturbance as a red cross, and the red blob was its likely five-day trajectory when Barbados (indicated with my green circle) was still going to be a part of the action.

As it turned out, the disturbance turned further south than forecast and Barbados only got some gustier-than-usual wind. At the time of writing, the disturbance was last seen menacing the north coast of Colombia, with a 90% chance of becoming a cyclone in the next two to five days.

I'm not too excited about that yellow disturbance bearing down on Barbados. It's due to make landfall some time tomorrow, but its probability of becoming a cyclone in the next two to five days is only 10%.