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Hawaii Rainfall

Ask the Big Kahuna

“Answering the most common visitor questions”


Please advise which months of the year generally receive the most rainfall. I will be traveling with a sun worshipper and we would like to book for the best possible time. I know the weather in Hawaii is always beautiful, but I believe there is also a rainy season?

Thanks for your assistance.



Dear Danielle,

Recently, the Kahuna received three other letters similar to yours. The answer is simple, once you know the “where” trick.

Generally, the winter months of November, December, and January tend to get the most rainfall (when). But where you are on an island is more indicative of rainfall than when you are there. Some areas have less than 10 inches of rain a year, some many times that in a month! The windward (east coast) side of an island gets more rain than the leeward (west coast) side. Similarly, the northeast side gets more rain than the southwest side. Beaches typically get light passing showers; mountains get heavier rainfall (since many clouds cannot make it up and over the mountains).

Year-to-year variations can be great, as well. For example, take a look at the rainfall in inches for January in Lihu’e, Kaua’i, for the decade of 1990-1999: 9.75; 0.68; 1.13; 0.75; 3.99; 0.89; 5.14; 5.56; 4.41; 2.27. Not real predictable, eh?

The good news is that each island is like a miniature continent with several micro-climates. Like North America, the South and West of each island are sunnier and drier than the North and East. So, think where not when. On any given day, somewhere on the island the weather is almost guaranteed to be sunny and dry, and a nice beach awaits you and your sun worshipper.

Don’t forget the sunscreen.


Big Kahuna