A group of coral islands scattered in the Arabian Sea, 300 miles southwest of the southern tip of India lays the Maldives or the sunny side of life. The equator passes through the island nation between Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll and Gnaviyani Atoll. This tropical paradise with white sandy beaches surrounded by azure waters of the Indian Ocean forms a double chain of about 1190 islands clustered into 26 atolls. A country covering a land mass of approximately 300 sq km, where most of its territory is covered by sea, the climate and weather of the Maldives is greatly translated by its geography and proximity to the equator.
Maldives experiences mostly warm tropical weather. There is plenty of sunshine and abundant rainfall all throughout the year. Maldives being on the equatorial belt, receives sunlight in an average of 8 hours daily. The moderately warm and humid climate of Maldives results in minimal variations in temperature. An average temperature ranging between 24 and 32°C is seen. April appears to be the hottest month and December the coolest. Annually, there is an average rainfall of 1796.3 mm. Two monsoons, the northeast monsoon and southwest monsoon greatly determines the weather in Maldives. The location of Maldives calms the monsoons and prevents the Maldives going through extreme conditions of weather.
The dry season (northeast monsoon) or ‘iruvai’ as it is locally known lasts from December to April. This is the driest and hottest time of the year where tourism peaks in Maldives as the season coincides with winter in European countries. Northeast monsoon brings hot, humid weather and clear blue skies with negligible rain. The driest month of the year (February) falls within the season. Despite the fact that the weather is hot and humid, daily temperatures are kept in check by the constant sea breeze which circulates the air. The fishing industry of the Maldives picks up pace during this season as the fisherman can travel further and can harvest more live bait.
The wet season (southwest monsoon), locally known as ‘Hulhangu’ falls between May and November. During this season Maldives receives torrential rains, strong winds and rough seas but the temperature rarely falls below 25°C. Rainfall in the Islands near and south of the equator are more evenly distributed than in the rest of the country. With this monsoon comes an unpredictable wind which cools the country and this may not be the best time for traveling around. Maldives recorded its heaviest daily rainfall (219.8mm) on 9th July 2002. As the country is in the equatorial region, violent storms are very rare. Such very rare and occasional storms occur during this monsoon.