Heavy Snow Hits Hawaii! | 2022 Hawaii Weather Forecast

Heavy Snow Hits Hawaii! | 2022 Hawaii Weather Forecast

It is winter in Hawaii and some places are expecting very heavy snow. No joke. And while we are by no means complaining, as Hawaii weather in winter generally is cool at night, in the ’60s, even at the beach. So what does this mean for your Hawaii vacation and the best time to visit Hawaii? See what’s going on today, and our tips below.

Twelve inches or more snow is possible this weekend.

Snow started falling yesterday at the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island. You can check the Mauna Kea Weather Center from the University of Hawaii for webcams and more.

The strong and unusual Hawaii weather is as the result of a Kona low which has enveloped the state in moisture being sucked up from south of Hawaii. The Big Island and its volcanic peaks are getting the worst of it, with up to 100 mile-per-hour winds and perhaps a foot or more of snow expected. Rain and flooding are in the forecast too. This magnitude of weather event is something seen only every few years in Hawaii.

A National Weather Service blizzard warning in effect for the Big Island summits is in effect until Sunday morning. Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa sit at an elevation of nearly 14,000 feet.

While snow at the volcanoes isn’t that unusual in winter, the quantity expected is. Rain will then be moving from east to west so Maui will be in line to receive the brunt of the weather. Rainfall amounts of 2-3 inches per hour are possible. A flood warning is in effect and the National Weather Service said that rain totals could be 12 inches or more. Better weather is ahead, starting next Thursday.

Between November and April, we do expect rain, although this much snow is unusual.

Showers at sea level are often passing, however, with rain one minute and sun the next. In total, rain averages about 15 percent of the time in those six months.

Overall, temperatures typically range from highs of 85–90 during the summer to 79–83 during the winter. Colder temperatures will be found only at higher altitudes, where, obviously snow is even possible (at the highest points) in winter.

Beat of Hawaii Tip #1: Check NOAA Hawaii radar daily. When we go out during any questionable weather, we always use NOAA’s Hawaii radar. It has just been refreshed as a state-wide mosaic display and is generally reliable and useful in planning our day. 

Beat of Hawaii Tip #2: Also use the NOAA radar to follow the sun. While it may be raining on one shore, the sun is probably shining on another shore.

Beat of Hawaii Tip #3: Consider having an accommodation you won’t mind hanging out in during rain when visiting during times of year that can be intimate. 

Rain here, of course, is considered a blessing, and is what keeps Hawaii beautiful, fills the reservoirs, and provides the rainbows we all love. At Beat of Hawaii’s headquarters here in up-country Kauai, we can get as much as 100 inches of rain annually.

Hawaii weather variations are quite unusual by mainland standards:

Cool, “Ho’oilo” Season

This season is from late summer through mid-spring. September begins with cooler nights which then leads to cooler and shorter days. It’s coolest from about December to March, before gradually returning to warmer conditions. During this season you can expect an average high of 77 during the day and an average low of 62 at night.

Warm, “Kau” Season

From mid-spring until late summer (May to Labor Day), expect longer and hotter days and balmier nights. During this time our average high is 82 degrees and a low of 70 when the sun goes down.

Wet Hawaii weather often comes in two segments

The first is usually in either November or December and the second is sometime between February and April. The most common rainy months are November and March. This year, however, November was dry. When these winter rains arrive, they are typically not geographically specific, and can equally impact all parts of all the islands.

Dry Hawaii weather

Dryer weather prevails the rest of the year, although dry doesn’t exactly mean completely dry. Dry weather here includes passing “mauka” or mountain showers.

These rains, driven by the trade winds, typically cross the higher elevations from the northeast to the southwest of the islands, leaving the south and west sides warmer and dryer. Most of the rain is deposited in the mountains and valleys, turning dry at the coast, which typifies our micro-climatic conditions.

It is often possible to have sun and warmth only a block away from cool and rain. During these “dry” conditions, you can typically escape from any rain by heading to nearby drier areas of the islands.

Trade winds prevail more than 80 percent of the time

Typical Hawaii trades are based on subtropical high-pressure ridges that bring cool winds from the north. They also provide lovely clear conditions, and a cooling effect during otherwise warm periods. Trade winds are also associated with dry weather and mauka rain conditions.

Still or south Kona winds

When the winds stop or blow from the south, which is less than 20 percent of the time, the weather here isn’t optimal. In the winter it will tend to be cold and wet and in the summer, humid. South winds are common during periods of heavy winter rains. In recent years, Kona winds also allow whatever VOG exists to move up from the Big Island.

Other considerations

Beat of Hawaii tip #4. Kauai has more precipitation per year overall and is lush and tropical. That’s why it is called the Garden Island. The Big island’s resort areas are among the driest parts of the state with the most consistent weather. Maui and Oahu feature both drier and wetter parts, with primary visitor destinations located in the drier areas. 

Updated 12/3/21.


24 thoughts on “Heavy Snow Hits Hawaii! | 2022 Hawaii Weather Forecast”

  1. It’s not uncommon to see snow on the higher up parts of the mountains on the Big Island, when flying in in the winter months.

  2. Awwwww MAAANNN!!! We had a trip planned for next week for my son’s 21st bday and changed it to New Orleans. So sad that I am going to miss this amazing weather!!!Hope the winds die down long enough for the locals to catch some nice POW~!~

  3. Thanks for this interesting diversion from the usual depressing issues of the day.

    Being only about 30 miles, as the crow flies, from the summit of Mauna Loa I can attest to the likelihood of significant snow accumulation on the peak. It has been raining here nonstop for the past 12 hours with no end in sight. And the temperature has yet to reach 70 degrees today.

    Contrast that to our recent location in the US Southwest where there has been virtually no precipitation all winter and severe drought conditions exist.

    The cause of both extremes is likely the strong La Nina now in effect, the opposite of El Nino.

  4. Hello there. We are planning to spend Thanksgiving 2020 in Oahu. I was hoping you could please give some pointers on when to purchase round trip airfare (obviously not looking for a “deal”, just don’t want to pay more than necessary).

    We would fly out of a CA west coast airport (San Jose, Oakland, SFO or Sacramento) on Sunday November 22, 2020 into HNL, returning Friday, November 27, 2020.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Richelle.

      Probably safest to book on availability. If you’ll be flying SWA, that’s a ways away since they don’t release tickets as early as other airlines. Guesstimate on pricing for your dates is about $500.


  5. Aloha, and mahalos for a fun and informative site. We always moan when the Kona winds make things muggy, but I’m reminded of those brave souls who first arrived here. If only 20% of winds blow from the south, imagine the struggle faced by those from the Marianas, Tahiti, and other places in Polynesia, all south. Maybe they had to row most of the way, which makes their trips even more amazing.

  6. The VOG is gone from Big Island since the volcano stopped erupting in Aug 2018. The resort area of Big Island averages 11 inches of rain per year. It is usually warm and sunny there year round, with the rainiest months Aug & Sept.

  7. Hello. Late September or early October we are traveling from slc to lih then to hnl before flying back home. I’m looking at $850 a person right now. Is that price expected to come down more. Or should I be Booking right now. Thank you.

    Braxton and Kristee

    1. Hi Braxton.

      Suggest waiting with a target price of around $500 nonstop. That could appear about 3 months before travel, and that is assuming mid-week. Expect to pay $100-$150 more for weekends.


      1. Mahalo for your flight info! Having the luxury of planning our trips based on your posts, we are coming from PHX-HNL and snatched up R/T for under $200! We were on Kauai last May and got there for less than $300 and the previous Thanksgiving was around $325. It really helps knowing when to grab the best fares. BTW all have been on bell weather Hawaiian Airlines less than 90 days out…A real Aloha spirit! Now to tackle the daunting task of accommodations and car hire. UGH!

        1. Hi Gary.

          Thanks for the feedback, and your many comments. Happy to hear you’ll be returning again soon.


  8. Hi BoH – We are taking our daughters for their first trip to Hawaii and wanted to find out if you had any recommendations for arranging a Lei greeting.


    1. Hi Dave.

      Suggest using Google to look for lei greeting on island you will be visiting. Should not be difficult to find.


  9. Hello my name is Tish,

    I will be traveling from New York.

    I was just wondering if the rain in Hilo during March is heavy and nasty or light and more like drizzling. Also how long does it last during the day and how many times can you get rain during one day?

  10. Hello, is it safe to do snorkeling boat tours in March? We have a trip planned to the big island on May 20 and will be there for 5 days.

    1. Hi Sofia.

      Yes it is. If conditions aren’t appropriate, tour operators aren’t going to take you out.


  11. hi! so, yes, looking for weatherpredictions that last week in March?
    and, then suggestions on the part of the island that might have less rain, easy access to snorkeling beaches…..THanks!

    1. Hi Laura.

      We don’t have crystal ball on weather. It is within the time of year when we can get rain. Each island has a drier side. Those include Kona, Waikiki, Poipu and Wailea/Kiheu. But during periods of seasonal rain rather than trade wind showers, that doesn’t always matter.


  12. BoH,

    Greetings from the frozen tundra of Minnesota! First of all, I am truly glad I stumbled upon your amazing website – the info and advice you provide is invaluable. Secondly, thank you for actually being responsive to your “commenters” posts. So many travel blogs/sites end up being self-focused on the proprietors many travel experiences and can’t be bothered with assisting us lowly novice explorers (tourists…).

    With that said, I must humbly submit a question (or two):
    1. My wife and I having been planning our delayed honey-moon for this spring. However, as of a week ago, a trip to Hawaii wasn’t on our radar. Then just the other day, my wife dreamingly looked up airline prices. We were stunned to find that flights weren’t much more than those to the Caribbean- so, we’ve decided last minute to bite the bullet and experience Hawaii- b/c as us millennials say, yolo.
    The dates we’re looking at are 2/28 – 3/9(red-eye back to mainland) – MSP is our home airport. We found a package for: 5 nights on the Big Island in Kona; 4 nights(5 full days) on Kauai in Lihue; full airfare (incl. inter island flight); and rental cars on both islands. All in for a touch under $4k – total cost for us both. This is a package from a popular wholesale club, so it is tough to breakdown all the costs seprataely, but from what we can decipher, the total airfare for us both is about $1300($650pp) +$125pp inter island. Without any good benchmarks, we’re unsure if this is a deal worth seizing. Could we please get your quick thoughts on this?

    2. And I promise this one is short, are the locations we’re thinking of staying “good” weather-wise during Late February early March? Granted it’s -4 Fahrenheit outside our home currently, so anything above freezing would be tropical for us.

    Thanks for all you do!

    1. Hi Andrew.

      Thanks very much! Regarding packages, as you said they’re hard to decipher and also often don’t really provide savings, more just convenience. Accommodations will be key to the value and should be carefully scrutinized.

      We’re seeing airfares with good connection running in low $700’s for February. Plus inter-island that starts at $110, depending on day and time (there’s a new nonstop).

      Our guidance would say vacation rental vs. hotel on Kauai. Perhaps consider Poipu because it can tend to be warmer in winter with less rain. North shore is a beautiful alternative as well but it “might” have more rain. Kona can be a vacation rental or hotel. There are great hotel/resorts on the north Kohala coast and we like that area very much. Lots of driving and distances to cover on Big Island, just depending on your interests.

      Bottom line is there’s no easy way out of doing extensive research.

      Hope that helps.


  13. As a Canadian who spends six months in Hawaii (as part of my job), I also have a love hate relationship with the rainy season. However … we are just heading into the snow season in Canada. Beautiful clear sunny days will follow after several inches of snow, but when the sun comes … the snow is still on the ground.

    What I love about the rainy season in Hawaii, is the renewal you feel, and that I can still indulge my passion for golf on grass … not snow!

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