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Hawaii Travel Weather

What's the weather like when traveling to Hawaii?

Hawaii is an archipelago that makes up hundreds of islands that that stretch over 1500 miles. The climate of Hawaii is surprisingly complex. The Hawaiian Islands lie in the tropics, but because of high volcanic mountains, the weather can be quite varied. Mauna Kea is the highest peak on the island of Hawaii at nearly 14,000 feet.

Hawaii Rainfall
Rainfall varies widely not only from one island to another, but is very dependent upon the elevation of the location, and if the location is facing windward or leeward of the northeast trade winds. Rainfall totals of about 20 inches can be expected near the high mountain tops and lee coastal locations. In contrast, up to 300 inches will be found on the windward slopes of mountains generally between 4-6 thousand feet. Compare three different locations in Hawaii:

1. Honolulu has a very distinct wet and dry season. The dry season stretches from April through September where generally only " to 1" of rainfall occurs each month. During the wet season, October through March, about 2-3 inches of rainfall occurs.
2. Hilo is on the north coast of Hawaii and faces the northeast trade winds resulting in about 126" of rainfall per year. There is no dry month, with June having the lowest amount of rain with 7 1/3". November has the most rainfall with about 15 1/2".
3. Mauna Loa is one of Hawaii's tallest volcanic mountains. Because of its height - nearly 14,000 ft high, it is usually above the moist trade wind showers. Only about 19" of yearly rainfall occurs with January being the wettest month with about 3 inches of rain. It is not uncommon for snow to fall on the summits of the highest volcanoes. Mauna Loa receives and average of almost four inches of snow a year.

In general most locations receive their maximum rainfall during the winter months, with the Kona coast of Hawaii being a notable exception.

Hawaii Temperatures
Hawaii's temperatures are temperate all year at the resorts. Summer high temperatures usually are in the mid to upper 80's with morning lows in the mid 70's. Winter highs are in the upper 70's to near 80. Keep in mind that it is much cooler in the mountains, especially on the higher slopes of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Daytime highs are in the 50's all year with overnight lows in the 30's most months.

Hawaii Travel Weather Summary
Hawaii has a complex climatology and thus experiences many different types of temperature and precipitation regimes. However, most travelers visit the resorts at beach locations that receive plenty of sunshine with only an occasional passing shower. The high volcanic mountains are considerably cooler with much heavier precipitation. Plan to take a jacket it your trip takes you into the mountains, otherwise temperatures are usually very comfortable.

Hawaii travel weather quick summary -
  • Hawaii travel weather - hottest months: July, August, September
  • Hawaii travel weather - coolest months: January, February
  • Hawaii travel weather - wettest months: December, January
  • Hawaii travel weather - driest months: June, July, August

For a complete monthly weather chart for Hawaii check our Hawaii weather averages page: Hawaii Monthly Weather Averages. Also, check Hawaii water temperatures for the beach surf temps around Hawaii.

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