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Cyclones in Guadeloupe

The most significant cyclones in Guadeloupe

Cyclones in Guadeloupe are not uncommon. Powerful or rather nice, they pass on or near the island on a fairly regular basis. Among these cyclones, it is of course Hurricane Hugo which marked Guadeloupe. Passed in category 4 on September 17, 1989 on Grande-Terre, it caused chaos on the island. The sustained winds over 1 minute were 120 kts (222 km / h) with gusts around 300 km.

Official reports indicate 11 deaths and 107 injured but they are controversial. In addition, the material damage was considerable: more than 25.000 lost their homes and more than 30.000 were damaged. The damage was assessed at more than 600 million euros (4 billion francs). It is the banana growers and fishermen who have been the hardest hit economically. Other violent cyclones have touched or grazed Guadeloupe, such as Maria in 2017 in Category 5.

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The level of alertness is GREEN

General information about Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe is a territory of the French Antilles with an archipelago. It has about 400.000 inhabitants spread over 32 municipalities and over 1.628 km². The island is divided into 2 main areas: Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre and is accompanied by an archipelago comprising Les Saintes, Marie-Galante and La Désirade.

It is the island of the West Indies the most affected by cyclones. Cyclones in Guadeloupe are 15 systems that affected it directly and 11 others that passed within 30 km. It is to be compared to the 7 passed directly on Martinique.

Of the 15 cyclones whose center directly affected Guadeloupe, there are 11 tropical storms, 1 category 2 hurricane, 2 major category 3 hurricanes and 1 major category 4 hurricane. Of the 11 past within 30 km, there are there were 9 tropical (or downgraded) storms, 1 Cat hurricane. 1 and 1 major hurricane of Cat. 5 (Maria in 2017).

The 60's we saw a succession of 2 cyclones in Guadeloupe: 2 hurricanes of category 3 in quick succession: Cleo in 1964 and Inez in 1966. 

And of course, recently the hurricane Maria passed a little south-west of the island in category 5 during the terrible season 2017. Fortunately the center avoided the land a little, otherwise the damage could have been similar to Irma on Saint-Martin and Saint-Barth la same years.

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The most violent cyclone passed near Martinique is Hurricane Maria which passed on September 19, 2017 near Saintes and Basse-Terre. The 1960s were the most active since 1950.

With 26 cyclones passed on or near Guadeloupe in since 1950, the statistical frequency of passage is once every 2,6 seasons on average which is by far the highest frequency of a territory of the arc West Indian (see explanations here:

Statistics on cyclones in Guadeloupe

  West Indian Arc Guadeloupe
Direct Impact % bow less than 30 km % bow Frequency
Total 104 13 12.5% 8 7.69% 3.5 years
- Tropical storm  74 8 10.81% 4 5.41% 6.1 years
- Hurricane Cat.1  11 0 0% 1 9.09% 73 years
- Hurricane Cat.2  6 1 16.67% 1 16.67% 36.5 years
- Hurricane Cat.3  6 2 33.33% 0 0% 36.5 years
- Hurricane Cat.4  5 1 20% 2 40% 24.3 years
- Hurricane Cat.5  2 0 0% 0 0%

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