Waimea Canyon State Park is dryer than Kōkeʻe State Park, which climbs into rain forest.
Like most volcanic tropical islands, Kauaʻi has many different microclimates. That means packing for a variety of conditions: swim suits and light hot-weather clothing for the beaches, a lightweight windbreaker for the occasional shower at higher elevations, and more serious protection during inclement conditions when hiking Nā Pali Coast. In winter months, a trip to Waimea Canyon and Kōkeʻe State Parks calls for warmth, including long pants and covered shoes – morning and late afternoon temperatures can fall into the mid-50 deg. F.
Winter and Spring (mid-December through mid-April) is high season for Kauaʻi when many travelers plan their trip to the island. This also means that fewer travel bargains are available and that room rates at this time will average 10%-15% higher than the rest of the year. Generally speaking, late winter and early spring are rainy, though weather in recent years has been highly variable and unpredictable. Nevertheless, the west or leeward side of Kauaʻi tends to be dryer than the rest of the island.
Due to the prevailing trade winds, most rainfall hits the north or northeast-facing shores, leaving the south and southwest sections relatively dry. As you make your way to various sections of Kauaʻi it is interesting to note the differences in terrain brought about by rainfall differentials.
Besides the trade winds, elevation also plays a role in determining an area’s microclimate. And on the way up to the parks, youʻll drive through abandoned cane fields, part of the island’s agricultural past. At lower elevations, these old fields are interspersed with fragments of native lowland forest, giving way to stands of eucalyptus planted the first half of the 20th century. At higher elevations, native Hawaiian cloud forest predominates.
Kauai Temperature Ranges
Cool Kauai Weather Links
For the most current information, check out these continually updated weather links relating to Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi, Pacific, and world weather. If you look at them daily, you’ll learn a lot about how weather works. Pay particular attention when storms come by, as you can watch the changes at your location:
- Kauai Weather Visible Loop (day time only)
- University of Hawaii Weather
- Hawaii Weather State Loop (a free Java™ plugin is required to view this page)
- Kauai Weather Radar
- North Pacific Faxmap: updated every 6 hours, shows storm systems all around Hawaii. Look to the west for advancing winter storms
- World Weather: pretty cool Mercator projection of weather around the world, check out weather for Kauai, Hawaii.
- Hawaii Water Vapor: check this for upper atmosphere instability; it shows 3 levels of wind. Upper level Blue arrows mean areas of instability
- Navy Worldwide Hurricane Page Particularly handy in the summer.
- Pacific Weather Visible: If you compare this to the Pacific Fax page you will get an idea of storm system movements. (Daytime only).