Hawaii is a desirable place to visit at any time of the year, as the weather does not change much from month to month. When planning a trip, however, you may want to consider the state’s rainy season and slight temperature changes throughout the year. Also, it rains more in certain areas than others. Although they are not common, hurricane season may make you consider another time to visit the Islands as well.
According to Perfect Hawaiian Vacation, Hawaii’s rainy season runs during the winter months, between November and March. However, this does not indicate that the islands remain dry during the rest of the year. In fact, it tends to rain somewhere on each island every day, whether it is during the rainy season or not. Compared to other places, though, rainfall in Hawaii is slow and light, and does not tend to pour. Also, the rain in Hawaii does not continuously fall for hours and days, as in other regions of the world.
Leeward vs. Windward
Nonetheless, rain is more prevalent on certain parts of each island. The leeward, or south and west side, is drier. The windward, or east and north side, gets more rainfall and is cooler. This is due to the tradewinds, which blow on each island from the east to the west side. Keep this in mind when traveling to a particular island. This rule holds true no matter what time of year it is. For example, if you go to the main island of Oahu, Honolulu and Waikiki on the leeward side will be much drier than Kailua and Kaneohe on the windward side. Another example is the Big Island of Hawaii. Hilo, which is on the island’s east side, gets an average annual rainfall of 180 inches. Kailua-Kona, which is on the opposite side of the island, gets a mere average of 6 inches of rainfall per year.
Temperatures do not fluctuate drastically throughout the year. On average, the temperatures remain between the mid-70s and the 80s. During the months of January through March, the lows can reach the 60s, as winds from the north bring slightly cooler weather to the islands (and big waves to Oahu’s famous North Shore). During the summer months, high temperatures can reach 90 degrees F. The ocean temperatures stay moderate, between 74 and 80 degrees F throughout the year.
If you visit certain extinct or dormant volcanoes on the islands, the temperatures will be cooler due to the higher elevations. For example, the Big Island’s Mauna Kea stands at 13,770 feet. Snow is even at its summit year-round, with temperatures at 25 degrees F.
Hurricane season in Hawaii runs from the months of June through November. However, hurricanes do not hit the state often, as the islands are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This is not as common of a target compared to other places, such as Japan. As of 2009, the last hurricane to hit Hawaii was Hurricane Iniki. Iniki was a Category 4 hurricane that struck the island of Kauai on September 11, 1992. Hurricanes do not hit the Hawaiian Islands often enough to deter people from traveling there during those particular months.