St. Lucia is one of many small land masses composing the
insular group known as the Windward Islands (see fig. __, Caribbean
Regional Map). Unlike large limestone areas such as Florida, Cuba,
and the Yucatan Peninsula, or the Bahamas, which is a small island
group composed of coral and sand, St. Lucia is a typical Windward
Island formation of volcanic rock that came into existence long
after much of the region had already been formed.
St. Lucia's physical features are strikingly beautiful.
Dominated by high peaks and rain forests in the interior, the 616-
square-kilometer island is known for the twin peaks of Gros Piton
and Petit Piton on the southwestern coast, its soft sandy beaches,
and its magnificent natural harbors (see fig. __, Map of St.
Lucia). Mount Gimie, the highest peak, is located in the central
mountain range and rises to 958 meters above sea level, a contrast
that is also evident in the abrupt climatic transition from coastal
to inland areas. The steep terrain also accentuates the many rivers
that flow from central St. Lucia to the Caribbean. Fertile land
holdings, which support banana farming, are scattered throughout
St. Lucia has a tropical, humid climate moderated by northeast
trade winds that allow for pleasant year-round conditions. Mean
annual temperatures range from 26o C to 32o C at sea level and drop
to an average of 13o C in the mountain peaks. The abundant annual
rainfall accumulates to approximately 200 centimeters, with most
precipitation occurring during the June to December wet season.
Hurricanes are the most severe climatic disturbance in this area
and have been known to cause extensive damage. Although St. Lucia
has historically been spared from serious hurricane destruction,
Hurricane Allen decimated the agricultural sector and claimed nine
lives in 1980.
Data as of November 1987