Socotra Weather – Monsoon Pattern
Socotra weather has two annual monsoons:
The southwest monsoon kicks up high seas around the island from early June to early October (this moon soon brings occasionally heavy rains in June). It has created a physical barrier to access by sea since the earliest times. These intercontinental stratospheric winds blow from Africa towards the Himalayan mountains, bringing the wet to India. But as they pass over Socotra, they are caught by the nearly 5000 feet high Hagghier mountains and dragged fiercely down the northern coast. The wind blows on the north coast, non-stop, day and night, for three months at approximately 90 kilometres per hour with some gusts at 180 kph, in Hadibo, between Howlaf and Mori.
The northeast monsoon from April to May delivers a smaller amount of precipitation. The annual rainfall varies between 130 to 170 mm/hour. Even during the calmer months, sea landings may still be tricky due to logistical problems (absence of adequate harbour facilities). But since 1999, with the building of a new airstrip (the longest in Yemen), which is built facing the monsoon winds, Boeing planes can now land all year round. So as tourists you can come to Socotra any time, depending on what you want to experience.
Socotra Climate Pattern for Tourists Travel
Socotra Weather in September
Coming out of the windy season – still somewhat windy on the north coast. The sea is just navigable – usually no rain, and the temperature still quite warm.
Socotra Weather in October
Wind now on shore (usually just a breeze) from the North East, generally bringing some rains to the island, but maybe only a few days of intermittent heavy and scattered showers. Most parts of the island get the effects of this rain.
Socotra Weather – November to December & December to February
These are the pleasant months. There can still be rain in November, even into December, but usually only dispersed. The sea begins to calm down, and travel in small boats is possible.
The best month to travel to the islands is February, March and April.
Everything is green in the Hagghier Mountains, so there is usually good rain at this time. On the top of the mountains, especially at Scant at this time, the temperature is cold with frosty mornings. At other times the mountains are swept by wind gusts all day, which drive clouds across the top at breakneck speed, which can lift your tent off the ground.
Socotra Weather in March, April & May
The afternoon temperature in mid-march is 30 degrees centigrade, with developing humidity. April and May are hot – up to 38 degrees near the coasts. But it is a lot cooler on the top of the mountain range, and at Scant, you would still need a covering at night to keep warm, but probably not a sleeping bag. These are the best months to visit the island.
Sometimes there are more rains in April (a couple of days) or even in May.
Socotra Weather in June, July & Aug
These are very windy months, especially on the north coast. The south coast is relatively calm at this time. The winds blow in Hadibo day and night for three months at 80 kph, only slacking off most days for an hour or two in the afternoon to perhaps 60kph. Gusts have been recorded at the port area, Howlaf, at 180kph. These winds are the base of the big inter-continental winds that blow at this time of the year from the high pressure over Africa to the low pressure over the Himalayas, bringing the monsoon to the Indian subcontinent.
The tops of the mountains catch these winds and pull them down over the north coast of the Island of Socotra. Schools are closed, and fishing is paused except for a few places like Deleisha. Temperature drops by about 5 degrees centigrade and it is not a time for regular tourism except for surfing boards.
The weather is still calmer in the south and the middle of the island. That makes it possible to make tours on the other side of the island (the southwest side). There are no rains accompanying these winds. The Boeing aircraft lands and takes off safely throughout this period because the airstrip is straight up and down the wind direction, and planes land and take off directly into the wind.