The climate of Hawaii

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The climate of Hawaii is atypical for a tropical area, and is regarded as more subtropical than the latitude would suggest, because of the moderating effect of the surrounding ocean. Temperatures and humidity tend to be less extreme, with summer high temperatures seldom reaching above the upper 80s (°F) and winter temperatures (at low elevation) seldom dipping below the mid-60s. Snow, although not usually associated with tropics, falls at high elevations on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island in some winter months. Snow only rarely falls on Maui’s Haleakala.

Local climates vary considerably on each island, grossly divisible into windward (koolau) and leeward (ewa) areas based upon location relative to the higher mountains. Windward sides face the Northeast Trades and receive much more rainfall; leeward sides are drier, with less rain and less cloud cover. This fact is utilized by the tourist industry, which concentrates resorts on sunny leeward coasts.

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