Weather on the Big Island of Hawaii

Weather on the Big Island of Hawaii

  • Karen E. Bail
  • 10/7/21



If you were to describe the weather on the Big Island in one word, it could only be the word “diverse.” With a wide variety of landscapes, cultures, and climate zones, the Big Island has something for everyone. It is estimated that there are over 18 climate zones worldwide on the Big Island of Hawaii you can experience 16 of them! Did you know that you can ski on Mauna Kea during the late fall or winter months? Recommended only for the courageous and experienced skier, this is one of the many attractions that draw both visitors and adventurers to the Big Island. Ka'u, at the southern end of the island, has a desert, but don't expect to see huge stretches of blowing sand instead, you will find an open landscape of lava and low brush punctuated by magnificent mountain ranges in the background and gorgeous ocean views with occasional black sand beaches for exploration if you care to go “off-road.” In short, the Big Island of Hawai'i has a bounty of weather and environments for you to enjoy: rain forests, fern forests, pine and eucalyptus forests, high mountain pastures, lush tropical valleys, coastal beaches, wet or dry conditions. If you arenÙt enjoying the weather where you are, hop in the car, and within a relatively short distance, you can be relaxing at the beach, sightseeing in the horse country of Waimea, or watching the hot molten lava spill from the Kilauea volcano.

While the weather here is often unpredictable, we still follow the basic seasonal pattern experienced on the mainland. Winter here can be “winter-like”, especially at the higher elevations, yet because of our diversity of climates, many a Christmas has been celebrated on the beaches of Hawai'i. We are influenced by major weather patterns such as El Nino and El Nina, so we experience both years where the average rainfall is less than expected or years when it is exceeded. Weather conditions can change in short distances as elevation or proximity to major topographical influences (such as coastal areas or the “saddle” between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa), have their impact. Mother nature is alive and well here, and that is certainly part of the excitement and attraction of being on the Big Island.

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