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November hurricanes, Great Inagua, largest islands, Mayaguana, mangrove swamps

The Bahamas comprise an archipelago of about 700 islands and islets and nearly 2,400 cays (pronounced “keys”). The Biminis, the westernmost of the group, are about 97 km (about 60 mi) east of Miami, Florida. The Bahamas make up the northern end of an island chain called the West Indies that stretches through the Caribbean Sea all the way to South America.

Most of the islands in the Bahamas are low and rocky. Cat Island, the highest, rises only about 122 m (400 ft) above sea level. Many areas are covered with ponds, mangrove swamps, and forests. There are lots of cave systems both above ground and underwater. The largest islands include New Providence, Acklins, Andros, Cat, Crooked, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Great Inagua, Harbour, Long, Mayaguana, and San Salvador. The total area of the country is 13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi).

The Bahamas has a tropical climate, although rainfall is lower than in many of the other islands of the Caribbean region. The winter months are especially dry, which accounts for the islands’ popularity as a destination for winter sun-seekers. From August to November hurricanes sometimes sweep across the Bahamas. Storm surges can wash completely over many of the lower islands. Individual islands usually go several years, however, without experiencing severe weather damage.

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