There are two annual monsoons: the south-west monsoon, which kicks up high seas around the island from early June to early October (this monsoon occasionally brings heavy rains in June), has created a physical barrier to access by sea since the earliest times. These intercontinental stratospheric winds blow from Africa towards the Himalaya mountains, bringing the wet to India. But as they pass over Socotra they are caught by the nearly 5000 ft. Hagghier mountains and dragged fiercely down over the northern coast. The wind blows on the north coast, non-stop, day and night, for three months at approximately 90 kilometers per hour with some gusts at 180 kph, in the area of Hadibo, between Howlaf and Mori. The north-east 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 difficult due to a combination of logistical problems, including the absence of adequate harbor facilities. But in 1999, a new airstrip was built (the longest in the Yemen) facing into the monsoon winds, allowing the Boeing planes the ability to land all year round. So as tourists you can come to Socotra at any time, depending on what you want to experience.
Socotra Weather Patterns for Tourists Travel
Coming out of the windy season, and still somewhat windy on the north coast. The sea is just navigable; usually no rain and the temperature still quite warm.
Wind now on shore, (usually just a breeze) from the North East, usually bringing some rains to the island, but maybe only a few days of intermittent heavy and scattered showers. But usually most parts of the island get the effects of this rain. Last year (2005) there was no rain in October. And the temperature is cooling down, but still warm.
November to February:
These are the pleasant months. There can still be rain in November, even into December, but usually only scattered, and not very frequent. The sea begins to calm down, and travel in small boats is possible. The best month to travel to the islands is February or better still March/ April. On the Hagghier Mountains everything is green so there has been a good rain up there, and also behind the mountains. But on the top of the mountains, especially at Scant at this time, the temperature can be very cold with frosty mornings!!! At other times the mountains are swept by wind gusts all day, which drive clouds across the top at break kneck speed, and lift your tent off the ground!!
Warming up, and at mid March the midday temperature can be 30 degrees centigrade, with developing humidity. April and May are quite hot, up to 38 degrees near the coasts, and still the weather is coming gently from the north east. But it is quite 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.
These are the very windy months on the north coast especially. The south coast is fairly calm at the same time. The winds blow in Hadibo day and night for three months at about 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 sub-continent. The tops of the mountains catch these winds and pull them down over the north coast of Socotra. Schools close, and fishing stops, except for a couple of places such as Deleisha, but all round the island fishing is limited by the strong ocean currents at this time of the year. At this time the temperature drops by about 5 degrees centigrade, but it is not really a time for normal tourism except for surfing. The weather still calmer in the middle of the island and the south, so it is possible to make tours on the other side of the island (the southern west side). There are no rains accompanying these winds. The Boeing aircraft land and take off safely throughout this period, because the airstrip is straight up and down the wind direction allowing planes land and take off straight into the wind.