Kauai Weather – How It Will Affect Your Vacation
The weather in Kauai is rainy – and that is a good thing! Yeah that’s right, I say the rain is good. Many people hear that the weather in Kauai is rainy, so they fear the rain may spoil their vacation. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Will Rain Spoil Your Kauai Vacation?
Here are the 2 most important things you’ll want to know about the effect Kauai’s rainy weather will have on your vacation…
- The coast (where you’ll probably spend most of your time) gets much less rain than the mountainous central part of the island.
- The majority of rain showers hit at night.
Now that doesn’t mean you won’t see any rain at all – you most likely will see rain while you’re on Kauai. It just means rain is unlikely to ruin your vacation.
Here’s another reassuring fact you’ll like…
When daytime showers do hit, they usually last for only a few minutes. So if it starts raining where you’re at, just wait a few minutes and it will usually pass.
But like most places on Earth, there are some very rainy days on Kauai. Fortunately when it’s raining in one part of Kauai it’s usually dry in another part.
Quick Facts About Kauai’s Rainy Weather
- Kauai is rainiest from November through March and especially from December to March.
- The north shore is quite rainy, receiving up to 45 inches of rain per year.
- The east shore is less rainy, receiving up to 30 inches of rain per year.
- The south shore is even less rainy, with Poipu receiving up to 20 inches per year. However, the most severe storms (known as kona) come from the south.
- The west side is the least rainy, with Polihale receiving as little as 5 inches per year.
- Kauai’s mountains are the rainiest. Mount Waialeale is the rainiest spot on Earth, averaging 440.22 inches per year.
3 Tips For Avoiding the Rain
- Look into the wind to know what kind of weather is coming towards you. If you see dark clouds, then you know rain is coming. The darker the clouds, the more rain you can expect.
- Be prepared to go where it’s dry. If it’s rainy on the north shore, it will probably be dry on the south and west shores. The west is the driest and sunniest part of the island.
- If you’re in the central part of the island, sometimes you can actually hear the rain coming. It will sound like a rushing river. If you can, just take cover until it passes.
Why the Rainy Weather Can Be a Good Thing
If it weren’t for Kauai’s heavy amounts of rain, it wouldn’t be known as the “Garden Isle.” These frequent rain showers create the beautiful, lush, green, tropical rainforests that are such a pleasure to hike through and explore. It’s also because of the showers that Kauai has so many fantastic waterfalls.
Kauai’s temperatures are awesome! To call them temperate is an understatement. On the coast, the average high temperatures range from 79° to 84° in the summer time. In the wintertime the average low temperatures range from 60° to 68°. Plus, Kauai’s humidity is usually is in the 50-70% range, making it very comfortable.
Kauai’s surface water temperatures are also awesome! They range from a low of 73° in February to a high of 80° in October – excellent for swimming and snorkeling.
How Trade Winds Effect Kauai Weather
Normal trade winds blow across Kauai from the northeast. These trade winds combined with Kauai’s tropical location result in the island’s moderate temperature and humidity. FYI – they’re called trade winds because in the past ships used them when sailing their trade routes.
The side of the island that faces the trade winds is called the windward side. It’s because of these winds that Kauai’s north side (windward) gets the most rain. As clouds hit the mountains, they cool – causing condensation and rain. After losing most of their moisture in the mountains, the clouds typically don’t have much rain left for the south side or leeward side.
That’s why if you’re somewhere on the north shore (such as Hanalei) and it’s raining, all you usually have to do is travel to somewhere on the south shore (such as Poipu) to get to dry sunny weather.
There is an exception to the normal northeast trade winds. Sometimes winds, known as Kona winds, come in from the south and west. When this happens it makes the north and east the dry sides while the south and west get pummeled with rain. These Kona storms usually occur in the winter – if they occur at all.
Some years there may not be any Kona storms and other years may have Kona storms every few weeks – there’s no real pattern. They rarely come in the summer, though. And it’s a good thing too, because Kona winds carry hot sticky air, which can make very uncomfortable summertime conditions.
Do Hurricanes Hit Kauai?
Hurricanes are extremely rare in Kauai, so don’t bother worrying about them. There was a category 4 hurricane in 1992 (Hurricane Iniki) that did some pretty serious damage, but there have been only two other recorded hurricanes – Iwa in 1982 and Dot in 1959.
Kauai Weather Resources
- Kauai Weather Forecast – call 245-6001
- Kauai Waters Forecast – call 245-3564
- See my current Kauai weather page for current weather conditions at Kauai’s Lihue Airport and Kekaha.
- Visit AccuWeather.com for 15-day Kauai weather forecast.
Here are some businesses that will give you weather tips in their area:
- Poipu – call Nukumoi Beach Center (742-8019)
- Waimea – call Wrangler’s Steak House (328-1218)
- Hanalei – call Pedal ‘N Paddle (826-9069)