The key to fully preparing your trip to a new and unknown land is not only to know its culture, its people, or the place itself. It is of equal importance that one understands its weather conditions at the time of arrival up until the day of departure. This serves as a guideline that will decide what your itinerary would look like, what clothing to pack and things to prepare. For those who are considering traveling to Hawaii, here is a sneak peek at its different climate conditions.
The state of Hawaii, including its many islands, is a tropical region. With only dry and wet seasons alternating year-round, Hawaii's climate is mainly consistent with minor variations in temperatures. This small change in temperatures is due to the geographical location of its islands and the fresh Pacific Ocean air, or most commonly known as the trade wind, constantly circulating across these islands.
Hawaii, being an archipelago of numerous islands, is known for having varied weather conditions. Each of these Hawaiian Islands has its own and unique microclimate. This only means that it could be raining on the Big Island while the other islands remain dry and hot. For this reason alone, Hawaii offers a wide variety of opportunities for everyone's satisfaction.
The consistent flow of trade winds is a significant factor in understanding the localized weather of these Hawaiian Islands. These winds blow from the northeast towards the southwestern parts of the state, bringing cooler and moister air. This air consequently produces clouds that cause rainfall on the northeast side of this archipelago, thus the windward side. This side is more prone to light showers, creating the verdant tropical atmosphere of rainforests and alpine regions. The other end, the leeward side, tends to be drier as its elevation protects it from the prevailing winds. This side takes pride in its arid deserts and lovely beaches.
Summer, or Kau as local Hawaiians call it, starts in May and ends in September. The average temperature during this period ranges from 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Hawaii's highest temperature recorded was 100 degrees Fahrenheit, in 1931. Winter months, on the other hand, maintain a temperature of 79 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit. It could drop, though, below 65 degrees Fahrenheit at low-elevated areas, and much lower at higher altitudes. Hooilo, as natives prefer calling their wet season, occurs from November until April. Snow covers Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island during this time of the year. Maui's snow-capped Haleakala is a fascinating sight too.
Be advised of a coming Kona storm or hurricane during this wet season. This is to ensure the safety and enjoyment of the planned vacation. Kona storms are characterized by continuous and widespread rain that lasts for a few hours or several days. On average, Hawaii is visited by two to four Kona storms a year. Hurricanes also intrude these islands but on rare occasion, most likely in the last half of the year.
To thoroughly relish Hawaii's waters and waves, it is also important to remember checking the weather forecast before heading to the beach. Though its water temperature is friendly all throughout the year, at the average of 74 degrees Fahrenheit or 23.3 degrees in Celsius, Hawaii Islands' waves change depending upon the season. During summer, waters are naturally gentle. All beaches are ideal and safe for swimming and snorkeling. Winter, on the contrary, is best for surfing as Hawaii's famous big waves are dominating the waters. Pacific storms cause ocean swells to form and push towards the islands, especially those on the north coast. Even these wave conditions are localized, so feel free to hop from one island to another to find the perfect wave for your surfing ability level. While professional surfers find their haven on the north shore beaches, rookies could take refuge to the calmer and safer waves of the beaches on the other end.
For some soaking in the sun, the southern corner of Oahu provides the most Hawaiian sunshine. It includes Waikiki and Honolulu. Maui's Wailea promises a pleasant weather the whole year. Kaanapali and Kapalua also guarantee low rain levels. Hana's light showers will not dampen anyone's excitement but instead make the experience more interesting. Kauai's Princeville and Hanalei have a good combination of sunshine and rainfall, enough to create amazing rainbows and waterfalls. The Big Island, due to its size, has the most diverse climate of these islands. Kohala and Kona in the west are best for a sunny day at the beach while Hilo on the east side has its fair share of rainy days.