Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
Two types of climate are found on Jamaica. An upland tropical climate prevails on the windward side of the mountains, whereas a semiarid climate predominates on the leeward side. Warm trade winds from the east and northeast bring rainfall throughout the year. The rainfall is heaviest from May to October, with peaks in those two months.
The average rainfall is 196 centimeters per year. Rainfall is much greater in the mountain areas facing the north and east, however. Where the higher elevations of the John Crow Mountains and the Blue Mountains catch the rain from the moisture-laden winds, rainfall exceeds 508 centimeters per year. Since the southwestern half of the island lies in the rain shadow of the mountains, it has a semiarid climate and receives fewer than 762 millimeters of rainfall annually.
Temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year, averaging 25°C to 30°C in the lowlands and 15°C to 22°C at higher elevations. Temperatures may dip to below 10°C at the peaks of the Blue Mountains. The island receives, in addition to the northeast trade winds, refreshing onshore breezes during the day and cooling offshore breezes at night. These are known on Jamaica as the "Doctor Breeze" and the "Undertaker's Breeze," respectively.
Jamaica lies at the edge of the hurricane track; as a result, the island usually experiences only indirect storm damage. Hurricanes occasionally score direct hits on the islands, however. In 1980, for example, Hurricane Allen destroyed nearly all Jamaica's banana crop.
NOTE: The information regarding Jamaica on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Jamaica Section information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Jamaica Section should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.