Puerto Rico ’s climate is classified as tropical marine, which means it’s typically sunny, hot, and humid year-round. The temperature fluctuates between 76°F and 88°F in the coastal plains and 73–78°F in the mountains. Humidity is a steady 80 percent, but a northeasterly wind keeps things pretty breezy, particularly on the northeast side of the island.
Nobody wants rain during a tropical vacation, but precipitation is very much a part of life in Puerto Rico. Although there are periods when the deluge is so heavy that you might think it’s time to build an ark, rains are generally brief and occur in the afternoons. The average annual rainfall is 62 inches. Although it rains throughout the year, the heaviest precipitation is from May to October, which is also hurricane season. The driest period is January to April, which coincides with the tourism industry’s high season. Keep in mind that the north coast receives twice as much rain as the south coast, so if the outlook is rainy in San Juan , head south.
Hurricanes are a very real threat to Puerto Rico . It is estimated that the island will be hit by a major hurricane every 30 years. The most devastating storm in recent history was Hurricane Hugo in September 1989, which rendered billions of dollars of damage and left some areas without electricity and water for several weeks. Hurricane Georges in September 1998 was no picnic either.
For the latest information on weather conditions in Puerto Rico, visit the National Weather Service at www.srh.noaa.gov/sju .