One of the reasons why you’re choosing to propose in Maui is because of the gorgeous scenery highlighted by warm, sunny weather. So when the weather forecast says rain for the big day, you start freaking out. Here’s why you can’t trust most weather apps and forecasts and what you need to know about Maui weather.
Mild Climate Year Round
Hawaii is blessed to have a mild climate all year round, which means there is no bad time to visit and plan your Maui proposal. At sea level, average temperatures range from 75-88˚ F (24-31˚ C) from April to November and 68-80˚ F (20-27˚ C) from December to March.
In order to understand Maui’s weather, it is important to have a general grasp on our wind patterns and geography.
The day usually starts with no wind. As the sun heats up, the wind increases as well. Most of the time, the wind is coming from the northeast and we refer to it as tradewinds. All of this air is thick with moisture and traveling over the Pacific unobstructed for thousands of miles. When the tradewinds meet the mountains, the air cools, clouds form, and rain falls.
These patterns are disrupted when a major weather system approaches, such as a tropical storm or a small front from the north west, but are very reliable the vast majority of the time.
Windward and Leeward
When listening to the local weather forecast, you might hear the terms “windward” and “leeward.” Each Hawaiian island has a windward side and a leeward side. In their simplest terms, windward is the side from which the wind is blowing and leeward is the side that is shielded from the wind.
Remember that tradewinds blow in from the northeast, so most of the moisture brought in those tradewinds get released on the north and east sides of the island. This makes north and east-facing shores, or windward side, more lush and green, think rainforests and waterfalls.
As the air rolls down the back side of the mountain, towards the leeward side of the island, most of the moisture it held has already been dropped on the way up the mountains’ north and eastern slopes. Some rain may still be falling, but it typically fades by the time the elevation drops to 2,000 feet or so. Thus, the south and west sides of the island tend to be drier and sunnier.
It’s no coincidence that the two tourist hubs on Maui are in the south and west sides of the island. South Maui consists of Kihei, Makena, and Wailea, while Lahaina, Kaanapali, Napili, and Kapalua is considered West Maui.
Where you are on the island makes a big difference in the weather and precipitation. Because of the extreme changes in elevation and landscape, Maui has over twenty microclimates. Unlike areas on the mainland prone to frontal storm systems which can span thousands of miles, these microclimates can often cause the weather to change over the course of less than a mile, often making the forecast for an entire zip code inaccurate.
For example, while Lahaina and Kapalua are both considered to be on the west side of Maui, Kapalua is more north and receives three times as much rain as Lahaina, despite only being 10 miles away.
Temperature can also change drastically with elevation. Up at the summit of Haleakala, it is known to be about 32˚ F (13˚ C) cooler than the beaches because temperatures drop about 3.2˚ F (1.3˚ C) for every 1,000 feet (305 m) in elevation.
Why Weather Reports are Unreliable
The reason why traditional weather sites don’t work for Hawaii is because the don’t account for these microclimates. The main weather reporting station on Maui is located at the main airport, which is in Kahului or central Maui. There isn’t a huge distance between Kahului and the resort areas, so normally the forecast could be generalized and applied to other parts of the island. But this simply does not work in Hawaii.
What to Keep in Mind about your Proposal and Maui Weather
1. Disregard forecasts you are seeing on weather.com and the like as they are not specialized for Maui weather
2. Most of our beach proposals take place on the south side of Maui, which is technically a desert
3. Clouds make dramatic and interesting backdrops in photos (more moisture in the air can sometimes lead to an intense sunset)
4. If you plan to pop the question at a beach or public location and the weather looks dicey, we create backup plans and options for you
5. Part of our service is to be your local experts here on Maui, so let us worry about the weather
Have more questions about your Maui proposal? We would love to help you! Fill out our contact form or give us a ring, so we can chat!