Avoiding Winter Storms

Avoiding Winter Storms on Maui can actually be done -- in three ways.

In winter where you choose to stay on Maui can make a great difference in the quality of your vacation -- and avoiding disappointment from bad winter weather -- as explained below.

There are three ways to avoid winter storms on Maui:

1. Avoid the height of the winter storm season from December through March -- by coming to Maui from April through November.

But many people come to Maui's mild winter to escape much worse winter weather on the mainland in North America.

2. If you come in winter, be sure you make reservations to stay in the resort areas sheltered from winter storms behind Maui's two volcanic mountains, as explained below.

3. If you find that your hotel is in an unsheltered part of Maui exposed to winter storms, merely drive five miles to a sheltered area during the day to enjoy the sunshine of one of Maui's protected sunny microclimates in the shelter of Maui's two volcanic mountains. See below for detailed descriptions of Maui's microclimates of sunshine.

Maui has two main resort zones that are both on the sunny drier sheltered side of the island.

But the best parts of those areas to stay in varies with the two seasons on the island, especially considering that many people come to Maui to enjoy sunny beach weather.

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CLIMATE in Hawaii is perfect all year. [For details go to the web page Climate of Maui.]

BUT

WEATHER can vary sometimes, especially with storms in winter.

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TWO SEASONS

Summer in Hawaii is five months long -- May through September.

Winter in Hawaii is seven months long -- October through April.

Summer and winter in Hawaii coincide with those seasons in North America, both places being in the northern hemisphere.

An outstanding feature of the climate of Maui resort areas is the small difference in temperature between summer and winter – the difference between the coldest and warmest months averages only 6 degrees F.

In the Maui resort areas the warmest month is August, with an average temperature of about 78 F, and the coolest month is February, averaging around 72 F.

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WINTER

Unlike summer, in winter where you choose to stay on Maui can make a great difference in the quality of your vacation -- and avoiding disappointment.

During Maui winter the temperature is ideal in the sunshine during the day, but the beaches can sometimes be a little too cool and windy or cloudy and rainy to be ideal.

Major storms usually occur during the winter season.

There may be two, three or as many as six or seven major storms in any particular year. Such storms typically bring heavy rains, sometimes with very high winds from any direction.

Most storms occur around the center of the winter season, with fewer storms near the beginning and end of winter.

Kona storms occur during the winter season. They are so-called because they often bring winds from the south (called kona in Hawaiian), unlike the more usual trade wind storms from the northeast.

The rainfall in a Kona storm is more widespread and more prolonged than in the usual cold-front storm -- but not as strong as the in the more extreme winds of the cold front storms. Kona rains last from several hours to several days. The rains may continue steadily, but the longer lasting ones are characteristically interrupted by intervals of lighter rain or even partial clearing, as well as by intense showers bursts.

Usually there are one or two Kona storms a year, and sometimes there are four or five. Although an entire winter may pass without a single Kona storm.

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MICROCLIMATES on Maui

In winter if you are going to vacation on Maui, you need to know about the local Maui microclimates.

On Maui you can find some place sunny almost always -- because the mountains block the clouds and rain and storms.

Maui’s two high mountains shield its west and south coasts from the numerous winter storms that come from the northeast, resulting in near-perfect weather in the beach areas of Kaanapali and Wailea. There dry weather prevails usually in winter, except for occasional light trade wind showers which drift from the mountains downwind over the resort beaches.

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WEST MAUI MICROCLIMATES

If it is raining and windy at your hotel in Kapalua (where it often rains in winter), you can drive four miles south to Kaanapali where it's usually sunny.

But if it’s cloudy there, you can drive four more miles south to the town of Lahaina [which means ‘Relentless Sun’] where it is sunny and balmy virtually every day of the year because the mountain shields it from usual trade-wind storms from the north-east. This may be why the Hawaiian royalty chose to live in Lahaina, which is very dry and relatively free of clouds almost always.

The west Maui resorts sit at the base of the West Maui Mountains that are 5,000 feet high, which is high enough to block part of the storms, and cause these West Maui Microclimates.

So if you want to go to a beach, but it is raining and windy at your hotel in Kaanapali or Kapalua or Kahana, you can drive to Lahaina where there are two beaches that are almost always sunny. One is a long beach south of Lahaina Harbor (access through the park), and the second one is the smaller “Baby Beach” north of downtown Lahaina with access from Kenui Street(so-called because local mothers take their babies there).

Conversely, during the rarer Kona storms from the south when it is raining in Lahaina, you can drive north to the beaches of Kapalua where there may be less clouds and no rain -- ask your concierge

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SOUTH MAUI MICROCLIMATES

South Maui resorts sit at the base of Haleakala Mountain, which is 10,000 feet high and massive enough to block virtually all of the storms.

If it is raining and windy at your hotel in Kihei, you can drive four miles south to Wailea, and if it’s not raining there but is cloudy, you can drive four more miles south to the area called Makena, where it sunny and calm virtually every day of the year.

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BEST HAWAIIAN ISLANDS FOR AVOIDING WINTER STORMS

Maui and The Big Island (common name for the Island named Hawaii) are the two Hawaiian Islands where you can avoid the storms of winter in the Hawaiian Islands.

The reason for this is that Maui and The Big Island both have their major tourist areas on the west side sheltered from storms by high mountains 5,0000 to 10,000 feet in elevation, which block most winter trade wind storms coming from the northeast.

The other Hawaiian Islands have resort areas which are not as sheltered from winter storms.

The island of Oahu has Honolulu and Waikiki Beach situated relatively close to mountains only 4,000 feet in elevation, which is not high enough to fully block winter storms that cover the mountains with clouds that extend out over Honolulu, causing frequent rainy winter days on Waikiki Beach.

The Island of Kauai has its major resort area of Poipu situated on the south side of the island where it is only partly sheltered from winter storms by its mountain 4,000 feet in elevation that catches the clouds and makes Kauai the rainiest place on earth. Most of the flat inhabited land on Kuai is on the east and north sides, facing into the winter storm clouds, including the resort area of Princeville that is very cloudy and rainy in winter.

The island of Lanai at nine miles southwest of Maui is somewhat sheltered from winter storms by the island of Maui. Of the two major resort hotels on Lanai, the one by Manele Bay is most sheltered from winter storms. The other resort hotel on Lanai, the Lodge at Koele, is situated at 3,000 feet right below the mountain in the winter rainstorm area.

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SUMMER

Unlike winter, in summer you can choose to stay in any areas of Maui or the other Hawaiian Islands, because they all have ideal weather in the semi-tropical summer.

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