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Hawaii is a heaven on earth to many people. The beauty and enchanting concepts that derive from here are unlike no other. Maui visitors often include the surfing and sailing enthusiasts, but what people do not realize is that Hawaii’s weather, winds, and waves are not like other places on the globe and we at Gemini Sailing Tours would like to explain further.
Maui Trade Winds & Kona Winds Speed Report & Forecasts
Maui has only two types of wind; Trade Winds and Kona Winds.
Trade-winds – Maui’s most common wind, where it comes from anywhere in the NE quadrant in reference to the compass points. From April to October the trade winds are most consistent, blowing anywhere from 10 to 30 knot, or 12-36 mph. The trade winds are present in the winter months as well, but the patterns will get interrupted by periods of Kona winds or days where there is not any wind.
Kona-winds – The winds that course through Maui the rest of the year; which translates about 20% of the year. These winds will randomly switch directions and blow from the south or southwest. Kona winds are lighter in comparison to trade winds, only blowing 10-15 knots or 12-18 mph. More common during the fall and winter months, the Kona winds carry vog, or sulfur dioxide up from Kilauea on the Big Island, which is what causes the air to be hazy for a few days until the trade winds clear it out.
Wind Direction & Force
Understanding the winds is pertinent when considering any sailing or snorkeling. Knowing the direction and overall strength of the wind is important to remember, as it is simply moving from one place to another. As these winds fly from unobstructed paths and suddenly get interrupted by tall mountains, they will not divert to one side, but the mountain splits the wind and it passes on both sides. As wind passes through the mountains a funneling effect, known as venture strengthens the wind as it passes through a narrow channel.
Maui Weather Forecast
The biggest mistake visitors make when determining the weather is checking the local forecast, which only reads the forecast for Kahului Airport which is the windiest and wettest part of the island. Because of the winds and taking into account the windward side of the island, which is where the wind is blowing, and the leeward side, which is the side shielded from the wind are factors that dictate the weather conditions for various regions of the island.
Hawaii Climate Seasons; What is the Average Temperature
There are really only two distinctive seasons in Hawaii; summer (Kau in Hawaiian) which generally ranges from May to October and winter (Hooilo) for the remainder of the year from November to April. The average daytime summer temperature at sea level is 85º F while the average daytime winter temperature is 78º. Hawaii’s winter season is brought on by the North Pacific’s cold fronts which produces more rain. The rains can go on for a week or more so when visitors come to the island during the winter, it is really a matter of hoping for the best. The chain reaction of the wind and microclimates causes a chain reaction, meaning a sunny patch could be within a few miles of a downpour.
How Are Waves Formed?
In all parts of the world, waves are the simple effect of wind influencing the water. The stronger the winds, the fiercer the waves. Speed of storm’s travel and distance from a given point of land also influence the wave’s size, but it is primarily impacted by the strength of the storm. Waves are simply columns of energy moving in the water until it meets with an outside force such as a reef or an island. The complexity of Hawaii’s waves is something visitors don’t understand as with no present wind, waves are still 20 feet high. Well with a few contributing factors, Hawaii’s waves are formed by storms spinning thousands of miles away and are only obstructed by the island.
Waves During the Summer (May through October):
Summer in Hawaii is during the same time as the North Pacific. Oceans are relatively calm, but in the Southern Hemisphere the large winter storms, that have 100 mph winds are violently churning and the extreme waves begin their march across the ocean. But being 7,000 miles away and having to traverse through South Pacific islands, much of the energy has dissolved by the time it has reached Hawaii. Depending on where you are on the islands dictate whether or not you will have some chop in the water or see flat calm waters.
Waves During the Winter (November through April): The storms make the switch from hemispheres, starting in Japan and south of Alaska, they begin turning into violent storms. The difference is that these storms are only 3,000 miles away and there is nothing in the path to absorb the energy. As a result, Hawaii has full strength waves washing up on the North shore and various surf spots.
Tradewind Sunset Sails, Winter Whale Watching & More in Honolua Bay, Lahaina, Kaanapali, & West Maui, Hawaii
We at Gemini Sailing Tours hope this helps you understand the weather, waves, and wind in Hawaii, but if you have any questions regarding the seasons in Hawaii and the recreational activities that are influenced by these conditions, call us and we will happily answer your questions.