Hawaii weather is a perennially fascinating subject for visitors and residents alike. Rain, wind, and other conditions are always part of the discussions here in Hawaii. Perhaps it’s due to being small islands in the middle of a large ocean, with incumbent extremes.
The Pacific Ocean is the obvious source of Hawaii’s unique weather. Ocean temperature varies by only about 6 degrees from winter to summer, between 73 and 80 degrees F. Located some 2,500 from the nearest continental land mass, and being one of the most remote island chains in the world, the air in Hawaii is moderated by ocean rather than by land conditions.
Hawaii Weather is Unique
Hawaii weather features:
- Year round idyllic temperatures with very few major storms.
- Moderate humidity for an island destination.
- Iconic cooling trade winds which blow over 80% of the time from the north and east.
- Microclimate variability in rainfall frequency and intensity.
Warm “Kau” season runs from May to Labor Day, when you will find longer and warmer days and nights.
Cool “Ho’oilo” season is the rest of the year.
We’re into the balmy summer months now, with warmer 80+ degree days and mid-60 to 70 degree nights. It is generally warm in Hawaii year-around, although from October through May (our winter), expect nighttime temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s and days drop into the 70’s. Our coolest temperatures are found from February through April.
At the water, you’ll find only two seasons in Hawaii. But as you go up or inland, there’s more variability and you can even see trees dropping their leaves.
We usually get major winter stores from November to December and from March to April. And from November through April, expect at least one month of rain. That comes out to precipitation 15 percent of the time during those six months.When these winter rains occur, they often impact the entire island chain. Intense winter rainfall can also result in runoff that makes the ocean briefly unswimmable.
The majority of the time, cooling trade winds are driven from the north and east as they cross the higher elevations of the state. As a result of these temperature and humidity moderating trades, the south and west sides are left warmer and dryer while most of the rain at these times is found in the mountains and valleys.
During trade wind conditions, if it usually possible to escape rain by heading to nearby drier areas.
The tradewinds stop or the winds blow from the south less than 20 percent of the time. South or Kona winds in winter often lead to cold and wet conditions. In summer, they lead to higher humidity.