Is Hawaii Humid or Dry?


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Visiting a Hawaiian island is like stepping into a lush paradise. Unfortunately, deciding what weather to prepare for can be tricky if you haven’t been to Hawaii. So is Hawaii more humid or dry?

Hawaii is humid. The humidity levels fluctuate between 66-81%, depending on the Hawaiian island and the time of year. Humidity levels tend to be slightly lower during the winter months. The Big Island is more humid than Oahu – however, all islands are quite humid as compared to other states. 

In the rest of this article, I will discuss why Hawaii is humid, which islands experience more humidity, and what you can expect in terms of humidity throughout the year. So if you want to learn more about Hawaii’s climate, keep reading. 

Why Hawaii Is So Humid 

First, it’s essential to understand that humidity is simply tiny water particles in the air. Humidity is more prevalent in tropical climates that see frequent or regular rainfall. Additionally, different locations on each Hawaiian island will experience different humidity levels. 

Some islands of Hawaii receive as much as 450 inches (1.14 meters) of rainfall per year. This moisture, combined with the constant pleasant temperature of the islands, creates more humidity. The side of the island you are on can also affect the humidity. 

For example, on Maui, there is a dry side of the island. This dry portion is much warmer, and not a lot of greenery grows there. However, when you venture up into the mountains where the rainforests are, you will notice a significant increase in humidity levels compared to the dry portion of the island. 

Which Hawaiian Island Is the Least Humid 

There are 8 main islands in Hawaii, all with slightly different humidity levels. It makes sense that humidity varies from island to island as each one is unique. Plus, elevation and rainfall play a considerable part in humidity levels for each island. So, for example, you may find it less humid on the mountain peaks than on the beach.

The Hawaiian island with the least humidity is Kaui. However, this “low humidity” isn’t saying much – Kauai is still reasonably humid compared to most American states, and this is true for the rest of Hawaii as well.

An important thing to note is that, while Hawaii is humid, the humidity isn’t as bothersome as in some places. In fact, most visitors find that it is practically unnoticeable, especially when paired with the fair island breeze.

Which Month Is The Most Humid in Hawaii 

If you aren’t a massive fan of humidity, there are a few months in the year you can avoid it in Hawaii. That said, the islands are always at least a little humid, and you should prepare for your trip accordingly.

December is the most humid month in Hawaii. However, the humidity usually only increases by about 5%. The winter months are more humid, though the weather stays relatively tepid year round. Additionally, where you’re located on each island will change the humidity. 

It’s important to note that humidity can have an impact on your skin and hair and can also be harmful to your lungs in large amounts. This is especially true if you have an underlying health condition. 

Is Hawaii the Most Humid State?

Interestingly enough, Hawaii is not the most humid state. The most humid state is Alaska. However, Hawaii is still in the top 10 most humid states, ranking number 5 on the list. So compared to many eastern states, Hawaii is considered quite humid. 

The most humid states, in order of most humid to least humid, are:

  1. Alaska
  2. Florida
  3. Louisiana 
  4. Mississippi
  5. Hawaii
  6. Iowa
  7. Michigan
  8. Indiana
  9. Vermont 
  10. Maine

If you have ever been to Alaska or the deep south, the chances are that you noticed the muggy and swamp-like quality of the air. The humidity in these places is significantly high and highly noticeable. 

Does Hawaii Experience the Four Seasons? 

Hawaii is a bucket list vacation spot for a very good reason – summers in Hawaii are perfect since they are not too hot or cold. Additionally, the water is a perfect temperature for surfing and other water activities. But what about during the other seasons?

Hawaii does not experience four seasons like most other states. It only has two distinct seasons, summer and winter. However, their winter months are nothing like the winter that most states experience. The weather hardly changes during the colder months. 

Though snow can occur in Hawaii, it is generally only seen on the tallest peaks, and there is very little of it. Additionally, the weather on the islands stays around 65-79°F (18-26°C) during the winter months. So you can generally expect pleasant temperatures all year long and a slight increase in humidity during these cool months.

To learn more about the weather in Hawaii, check out my article on how cold it gets in Hawaii.

How To Pack for Hawaii’s Weather 

If you’re planning a trip to one of the Hawaiian islands, you must consider what you need to bring with you to combat the humidity. Of course, you will hardly notice the change if you’re visiting from a more humid state. However, if you aren’t used to the humidity, there are a few things you should know and pack on your trip. 

Humidity can cause your skin to feel wet and sticky constantly. This stickiness often leads to chafing, which can become uncomfortable and quickly lead to running your perfect vacation. So it’s essential to pack the right clothes to prevent this from happening. 

What you should pack to stay comfortable in Hawaii’s Humidity:

  • Loose, breathable shirts. If you plan to hike a lot, wearing loose, flowy tops and breathable shirts can help prevent chafing. This type of fabric will be less likely to rub in uncomfortable places. 
  • Long hiking pants. Wearing pants is necessary when hiking in the rainforests of Hawaii. Humidity can cause your skin to rub together and result in rashes. So, good pants are essential for extended adventures. 
  • Shorts that cover your thighs. If you find yourself warm and prefer wearing shorts, longer shorts are a good idea as they prevent your thighs from chafing. 
  • Water-resistant shoes. Shoes that don’t absorb too much moisture are ideal for activities like hiking and water. 
  • Anti-chafing cream. Many companies have creams and other topical ointments to help prevent chafing in high humidity. These essentially create a barrier to protect your skin from moisture and friction. 

If you don’t already own an anti-chafing cream or balm, I recommend Body Glide’s Original Anti Chafe Balm (available on Amazon). This balm comes in a roller-like deodorant applicator, allowing you to easily apply it to any area of skin that is becoming irritated or is likely to get irritated. 

Conclusion 

Hawaii is more humid than dry and is in the top 10 most humid places in the United States. However, the humidity in Hawaii is quite pleasant due to the nice temperature on the islands. Additionally, location on the island, time of year, rainfall, and elevation play a considerable role in how humid each island is.

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