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Geography of St Kitts & Nevis


St Kitts lies about 8 km (5 mi) southeast of the Netherlands Antilles and 72 km (45 mi) northwest of Antigua, in the Leeward Islands. It is 37 km (23 mi) long and 8 km (5 mi) across at its widest point, with a total area of 261 km2 (101 mi2). Nevis, on the other hand, lies about 3.2 km (2 mi) southeast of St Kitts, across a channel called 'The Narrows'; it is 13 km (8 mi) long and 10 km (6 mi) wide, with a land area of 93 km2 (36 mi2). Together the islands have a coastline of 135 km (84 mi).

Comparatively, the area occupied by St Kitts & Nevis is slightly more than 1.5 times the size of Washington, DC. The capital city, Basseterre, is located on St Kitts.

St Kitts & Nevis are of volcanic origin. In the northwest of St Kitts is Mt Liamuiga (also called Mt Misery), the island's highest peak at 1,156 m (3,792 ft); to the south and west of Mt Liamuiga are 210-m (700-ft) cliffs that drop straight to the sea. On the southern arm of the island lies the Great Salt Pond. Nevis's highest elevation is the central peak of Mt Nevis, at 985 m (3,232 ft); it is usually capped in clouds. There is a black sand beach on the northwest coast.

The climate of St Kitts & Nevis is classified as tropical marine with a wet and a dry season. Generally, steady northeast trade winds and tropical oceanic cyclonic movements influence it. Furthermore, the islands enjoy warm even temperatures with a mean of approximately 24-27°C (75.2-80.6°F) and the humidity is low at 71%. Seasonal and diurnal variations in temperature are small. Rainfall is mainly orographic and increases in amount and frequency with the altitude. Except for the Southeast Peninsula which is very dry, mean annual rainfall ranges from about 406 mm (16 in) in the coastal areas, to about 1,524 mm (60 in) in the central mountain ranges but, from May to October rainfall is heavier while temperatures are a little hotter.

Although the hurricane season officially lasts from June to November, most hurricanes hit during August-November. The 1998 & 1999 Atlantic hurricane season produced three hurricanes which battered St Kitts & Nevis.


Location : Caribbean, islands in the Caribbean Sea, about one-third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates : 17 20 N, 62 45 W
Map references

: Central America and the Caribbean

: total: 261 km2 (St Kitts 168 km2; Nevis 93 km2)
land: 261 km2
water: 0 km2
Area - comparative : 1.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries : 0 km

Coastline : 135 km
Maritime claims
: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate : tropical, tempered by constant sea breezes; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)
Terrain : volcanic with mountainous interiors
Elevation extremes
: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Liamuiga 1,156 m
Natural resources

: arable land
Land use : arable land: 19.44%
permanent crops: 2.78%
other: 77.78% (2005)
Irrigated land

: NA
Total renewable water resources

: 0.02 km³ (2000)
Natural hazards
: hurricanes (June to November)
Environment - current issues
: NA
Environment - international agreements
: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note : with coastlines in the shape of a baseball bat and ball, the two volcanic islands are separated by a 3-km-wide channel called 'The Narrows'; on the southern tip of long, baseball bat-shaped Saint Kitts lies the Great Salt Pond; Nevis Peak sits in the centre of its almost circular namesake island and its ball shape complements that of its sister island




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