Even though Kauai has one of the wettest spots on earth at Mount Waialeale, most days are filled with sunshine. Kauai has seven main micro-climates ranging from the lush interior regions to a more arid Westside.
Mount Waialeale at an elevation of 5,148 feet is the center of Kauai’s unspoiled interior and is a tropical rain forest with an average of over 450 inches of rain per year. However, the majority of that rain does not affect the coastal regions.
North Shore regions average 40-60 inches of rain per year, mainly during the winter months.
South Shore annual rainfall averages 30-40 inches as the Haupu Mountain range blocks most of the showers. An occasional Kona storm comes in from the southeast bringing some drama to the more consistent South Shore weather patterns.
Westside is the driest region getting as little as 5 inches of rain per year.
Most of Kauai’s rain falls at night and when our tropical showers arrive during the day, they are usually short and create spectacular rainbows.
Our biggest tip to visitors…when it’s raining in one area, drive 10 minutes and you will most likely find sunshine. Nothing is better than smell of tropical flowers after a light rain.
Kauai Is Always Tropical
Thanks to our trade winds from the Northeast, the island’s humidity is moderate and temperatures stay mild throughout the year. That means a high of 85° in summer and 78° in winter. Ocean temperatures vary too between 73 and 80 degrees depending on season.
Two Seasons: Warm and Warmer
Kau is our warmest season from May to September with the most hours of daylight followed by balmy nights. Even though it’s dry at the beach we still have showers at night and in the mountains and valleys.
Ho`oilo is our cooler season between December and March with an average high of 78° and a low of 62 degrees. If you plan to go upcountry to Kokee this time of year, expect even cooler weather.
When is it most likely to rain? The two rainiest months are usually November and March but rain can fall anytime from November to April. Expect one month of rain in these six months or an average of 15% of the time. Most rain hits the interior of the island rather than the coastline.
Cloudy Day Tips
1. Search for the sun. It’s not likely that rain is hitting the entire island. NOAA is the best resource for real time weather. On their map you can watch any precipitation happening and plan your day accordingly.
2. Check Kauai Explorer for daily ocean reports. This will help you decide where to swim, snorkel or surf. Our seasons impact the height of the waves. During the winter months you’ll find the ocean calm on the South Shore and more waves up North. In summer this trend is normally reversed.
3. Look into the wind. That’s the direction the weather is coming from. Heavy clouds are a sign of rain coming and a good opportunity to raise the top on your convertible.
4. Bring a light jacket with you. Especially in winter this will come in handy for any light rain you encounter.
Now it’s your turn to add comments. If you see cloudy skies or rain coming, what are your favorite things to do?