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

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk