Talking Hawaii’s Weather and Climate

The subject of weather in Hawaii is of widespread interest both to visitors and to those of us who call this home. When I talk with neighbors, it’s rain and trade winds and what this week will bring that is never far from our conversation. Following a drought that affected the islands until last November, this winter season has been exceptionally rainy, especially on the western-most islands of Kauai and Oahu.

Hawaii’s climate typically features:

  • Year round mild temperatures with few major storms
  • Varying but moderate humidity
  • Cooling trade winds which emanate from the Northeast
  • Tremendous variability in frequency and amount of rainfall from one location to another

Temperatures and seasonality

While it is generally warm year-around, from October through May (winter), nights at sea level are in the 50’s and 60’s and days drop into the 70’s. The coolest months here are February through April.

The remainder of the year (summer) features nights in the 70’s and days in the 80’s (or hotter in some locations). The warmest months are July through August.

At the coast, there are only two discernible seasons. However as you go up in elevation at all, seasonal variability increases greatly.


Winter rains typically come around November/December and March/April, affecting all parts of all islands. It feels, however, that those months have become more unpredictable in recent years. Otherwise, rain tends to be of the micro-climactic Mauka (mountain) variety, brought on by trade winds crossing the islands.

Small islands in a vast ocean

The Pacific Ocean is the obvious source of Hawaii’s unusually moderate weather. Water temperatures here varies by about six degrees summer to winter, from 73 to 80. Being 2,500 from the nearest continent, and thus one of the world’s most remote island chains, the air in Hawaii is moderated by ocean rather than by land.

My favorite time of year

By no measure is there a bad time of year in Hawaii. My personal favorite is from September through early November, for the best dry weather and the least crowding.

More on Hawaii weather and climate

If this is a subject you like too, here are a number of other things we’ve written about Hawaii’s weather.

Winter Travel Deals Will Be Fine: What About The Weather
Hawaii Winter Weather
New Hawaii Weather Tracking
Hawaii Rain, Seasons And Weather
Q&A: When is the rainy season in Hawaii?


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