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Oahu’s Weather On Your Seattle to Hawaii Vacation

by Fergy Ferguson

This time of the year I get the question, “will the weather be good?'”  The good thing about taking a Seattle to Hawaii vacation is the climate.  Oahu’s weather is very similar to most of the other islands.  Because Hawaii does actually experience different seasons as we do here on the mainland, there can be some confusion  The difference in the seasons in Hawaii are just more subtle than our dramatic shift that we see here in Seattle, but there are changes just the same.  The most important difference in Hawaii’s, and Oahu’s weather, is the near constant temperatures in the mid 70’s and 80’s.  As we all know, that is the definition of paradise for most of us.  The other good thing about Oahu’s seasons is that they are predictable.  Winter means a little rain in the afternoons, but still a very comfortable temperature.  In the winter there might be an occasional rainy period that might last a couple of days.  The summer is a little hotter, but not uncomfortably so.  The spring and fall seasons are fairly similar to each other, with an occasional rainy day, but Spring or Fall is generally my favorite time to visit on my Seattle to Hawaii vacations.

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You can’t talk about the weather on Oahu without talking about the most important factor that controls the stellar weather you get there.  The trade winds are the islands air conditioning and also their rain maker.  The wind generally moves in a Northeasterly direction in the middle of this warm tropical region of the Pacific Ocean.  That is how the temperature stays so moderate.  When the trades die down the temperature usually starts to climb, so the trades are the air conditioning, and keep the weather moderate year round.  By the same token, the trades bring moisture in off the ocean.  The moisture that is picked up by the wind mostly falls on the the slopes of the mountains in Hawaii on the eastern side.  This is called the windward side of all the islands, and the difference in foliage is often very dramatic.  On Oahu, the main population areas of Waikiki and Honolulu are on the drier, or leeward side of the island.  In my prior post we talked about the 2 mountain ranges that separated the 2 sides of Oahu.  When you travel over “The Pali Highway”, or around the island, you can often look up into the rain that is falling on those slopes.  If you are looking for tropical lush foliage, look to the windward side of the mountains.  When you are looking for the drier sunny sides of the islands look to the leeward sides.

So now that you know what to expect on your Seattle to Hawaii vacation, and how the weather is controlled, let’s talk like the locals and describe Oahu weather.  When you touch down in Honolulu, you are on the drier leeward side of the island.  If you stay in Waikiki, and you are on the beach, you may want to look up Mauka (mountain side) to see whether the rain may come later in the day.  If you are heading over “The Pali”, you may want to stop at the overlook to see the expanse of the shoreline on the windward side of the island.  You will also notice the lush tropical growth and smell all the flowers and trees.  When you get down the shore, and head north, you may see several waterfalls signaling that the rain is falling up mauka on the slopes.  The beauty of Oahu is that it’s not just about Waikiki and Honolulu, it’s about the diversity of scenery, activities, and the cultural experiences you can have island wide.  Most of these things are directly related to the weather.  The good thing is that on your Seattle to Hawaii vacation, the weather is your friend.

Next up, we will talk about the culture and the people of Oahu for your Seattle to Hawaii vacation.

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