Whenever potential travelers to Hawaii are surveyed, their first questions are often the same - "How's the weather in Hawaii?", or specifically by month such as "How's the weather in Hawaii in March or November?"
Most of the time, the answer is pretty easy - Hawaii weather is lovely almost every day of the year. After all, Hawaii is considered by many to be the closest thing to paradise on earth - for good reason.
This is not to say that Hawaii weather is the same every day. Hawaii has a normally drier season during the summer months (May to October), and a rainier season which generally runs during the winter (from November until March).
Since Hawaii has a tropical climate, it is almost always raining somewhere on one of the islands, at any given time.
Usually if you wait a while, the sun will come out and often a rainbow will appear.
Unlike the mainland, the prevailing winds that affect Hawaii move from east to west. The volcanic mountains trap the moist air from the Pacific. As a result, the windward sides (east and north) are cooler and wetter, while the leeward sides (west and south) are warmer and drier.
There is no better example of this than on the Big Island of Hawaii. On the leeward side there are places which see only five or six inches of rain a year, while Hilo, on the windward side, is the wettest city in the United States, with an average of over 180 inches of rain a year.
The Hawaiian Islands are volcanically formed. Most of the islands have great altitude changes between their coasts and their highest points. The higher you go, the cooler the temperature becomes, and the greater the changes in climate you will find. In fact, it sometimes even snows at the summit of Mauna Kea (13,792 ft.) on the Big Island of Hawaii.
When traveling from the coast of the Big Island to the summit of Mauna Kea you pass through ten different climate zones. A visitor planning a trip to a higher altitude (such as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Saddle Road or Haleakala Crater on Maui) should bring a light jacket, sweater or sweatshirt.
In most areas of Hawaii, however, the temperature ranges are much smaller. At the beaches the average daytime high in summer is in the mid-eighties, while in winter the average daytime high is still in the high seventies. The temperatures drop about ten degrees at night.
While Hawaii weather is usually as close to perfect as anywhere on earth, Hawaii is located in an area that is sometimes, though rarely, subject to severe weather conditions.
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