Hawaii: Tropical sun, surf - and heli-skiing

Hawaii's mild climate, warm ocean and gentle breezes make it the perfect holiday destination to visit any time of the year, but the variations in the weather across the islands can be quite surprising. Hawaii boasts 11 of the 13 climate zones in the world, each with unique weather characteristics. On the nightly local news, you'll find surf reports for each side of the islands, along with wind and rainfall forecasts.

Hawaii is one of the greenest places on Earth. Every day, it rains somewhere on the islands, and the gentle misting variety, referred to as kilihune, is great for cooling off. The volcanic crater of Mount Waialeale on the island of Kauai receives an average of 1,234cm of rainfall each year and is considered one of the wettest places on Earth.

The Hawaiian islands offer such contrasts because of the dramatic variation of terrain. On the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, you can hit the beach and soak up the sun, then heli-ski at the top of Mauna Kea in the same day. Thanks to the action of active sea breezes, the cloud cover in Hawaii does not usually stay put for very long. Clouds tend to hang above the mountains, drop rain and move on. So if you happen to get caught in a sudden downpour or light rain, it should clear up within minutes. One of the benefits of a sharp shower is the fact that it is usually accompanied by a rainbow. Rainbows, or anuenue are abundant across the islands.

Hawaii has only two seasons: summer, known locally as kau, which runs from May to September; and winter, or ho'olio, the cooler season, from October to April. It is only relatively cooler, as temperatures dip by only four or five degrees in winter.

Where you are on a Hawaiian island makes more of a difference to the temperature, wind and rain that you will experience. The east-facing side, or windward side, of each island is usually the cool, wet and windy side, while the west-facing side, the leeward side, is warm and dry.

Because Hawaii sits on the edge of a tropical zone, the islands are prone to strong trade winds and an occasional tropical storm. Although hurricanes are rare, the islands are vulnerable to Pacific Ocean storms generated to the north. In some cases, the islands will only experience the aftershock of storms with heavy swells, rains and super-size waves. Only four hurricanes have been recorded in the islands since 1957.

Dr Liz Bentley is founder of the Weather Club, formed by the Royal Meteorological Society to promote an appreciation and understanding of the weather. Visit theWeatherClub.org.uk for more information.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: .NET Developers / Software Developers

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: our .NET Developers / Software Dev...

    Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

    £25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Ashdown Group: Project Accountant (Part-Qualified Accountant) - Manchester

    £23000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Project Accountant (Part-...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat