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Great Abaco Island, Bahamas


Great Abaco Island, Bahamas

Population: 14,000 (2005 est.)

Coordinates: 26 25 N 77 10 W

Think of the trade winds, steady equatorial air currents, and you might imagine early European explorers drifting across the Atlantic towards a cluster of lush islands strung across the Caribbean Sea like a necklace of pearls. But it is these same winds that also bring an annual average of six hurricanes to this region between June and November—tropical storms that are beginning to make the news once again. In fact, just yesterday, the National Hurricane Center announced that Bertha, the second named storm of the 2008 season, had graduated to Category Three on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. So you’ll want to steer clear of Bertha, but if you’re searching for a “Hurricane Capital,” look no further than Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas; since 1851 it has endured 18 severe hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5) and 40 altogether which works out to about one every four years.


Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.

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