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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Stephen Moss

Weatherwatch: the varying climate of the Dominican Republic

Strong waves after the passage of Storm Elsa in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Strong waves after the passage of Storm Elsa in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, last year. Photograph: Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images

The Dominican Republic – not to be confused with the much smaller Caribbean island of Dominica – forms the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti. It is the most mountainous of all the Caribbean islands, with the highest peak, Pico Duarte, reaching an altitude of 3,098 metres (almost 10,200ft).

Like other islands in the region, the climate is tropical: warm throughout the year. There are two distinct seasons: hot and muggy from May to October, and cooler and more pleasant from December to March; with April and November lying somewhere in between.

Rain, too, falls mainly in the spring and summer months, averaging between 640mm and 2260mm (25 to 90 inches) a year, depending on the location. Along the northern coast, which is exposed to the northerly trade winds, winters can also be fairly wet. However, because the rain falls mainly in intense bursts and thunderstorms, the climate is generally very sunny throughout, with between six and eight hours of daily sunshine throughout the year; slightly more in the south of the island.

Up in the mountains, however, temperatures can drop to as low as single figures, especially in winter; when wind chill from the trade winds can make it feel even colder. On the coasts, sea temperatures are mostly warm all year round.

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