Are Summers Hot on Maui?

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With this the first full day of summer, I thought I might address a question that comes up from time to time with customers considering a move to the islands. Are summers hot on Maui? This is a good question and one that I had prior to moving to Hawaii. Having spent my high school years in Florida, I had some trepidation about sub-tropical climates in the summer. I figured Maui might be similar to Florida where temperatures and humidities are often in the low to mid 90s. I remember my summers in Florida when it took only a few minutes before I was drenched in sweat after venturing outside. This kept me indoors on most summer days seeking the cooling relief of a/c.

Maui’s summer weather is surprisingly pleasant. Temperatures generally only increase about 10 degrees above the winter high temperatures. Depending on where you are located on the island, highs range from the low 80s up to the upper 80s. The more agreeable climate can be attributed to trade winds, Haleakala and the Pacific.

During our summer months, the trade winds blow consistently. Winds blowing in the range of 15-25 mph are like a constant ceiling fan over head. The trades bring air flow to well ventilated homes. It is surprising to many that most Maui homes do not have air conditioning. Frankly, the trades make a/c unnecessary on most days. There are usually a handful of days each summer where the trades stop. It is on those days where the weather gets muggier and it starts to approach but does not equal Florida conditions. Typically, this weather is most likely to occur in August and September.

Haleakala and the Pacific serve as the island’s air conditioning system. At over 10,000 feet, the summit of Haleakala has cool temperatures year round. During the night time cool air drains off the mountain lowering temperatures near sea level. The drop in temperatures is usually sufficient to make it necessary to sleep with a blanket at night. Night time trade showers can drop temperatures another few degrees. The Pacific Ocean helps keep things cool in its own right. Peak water temperatures during the summer reach the upper 70s to low 80s. This helps to keep air temperatures from getting too hot near the beach. If it does get hot, the Pacific is never too far away for a cooling dip.

For a small place Maui, has lots of microclimates. Overall the island is quite pleasant, but some summer locales stay cooler than others. The warmest spots on the island are the leeward areas. Places like Kihei and Lahaina are drier and tend to have warmer temperatures. Sometimes Haleakala and the West Maui mountains will shield these areas from cooling trade winds. The Upcountry Area of Maui is the coolest. Located elevations in excess of 1,500 feet, High temperatures in locales like Olinda and Kula may only reach into the mid-high 70s. The windward areas of the island benefit from cooling trade showers. I remember my first summer night on Maui was spent in Haiku. Around 9:30 PM a trade shower opened up overhead and there was almost an instantaneous drop in temperature. While I admit my blood is a little thin, I have experienced downright cool temperatures at night in the Upcountry and windward areas.

Having spent summer’s in Connecticut, Florida, Virginia, the deserts of Utah and the foothills of the Rockies in Colorado, I can safely say Maui has the most pleasant summer weather. It is truly a great climate year round. If you want to learn a little more about the specifics of Maui’s year round weather, local meteorologist Glenn James has a nice summary of historical weather patterns for each month of the year on his website.

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