Big Island Climate and Weather

As the saying goes, "In Hawaii, if you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes." Or, drive a few miles. Most days, it's true.


Home to 4 of the world's 5 climate zones (and 10 of the 13 sub-zones), the Big Island has something to offer for everyone.

At sea level, temperatures are generally mild and breezes are usually blowing. In the higher elevations, you can escape into a cool, misty rainforest that feels a world away from the ocean waves and palm trees just a few miles away. On the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, temperatures can dip below 30°F and snowfall accumulates several times each year, usually above 9,000' elevation.

To identify what part of the Big Island will suit you best, a good starting point is to ask whether you're looking for mostly sunny skies and few rainy days per year, or if you are more comfortable in a wetter, greener environment. For anyone planning extensive gardening, landscaping or agricultural production, questions about water supply and cost will be important to consider.

If you generally prefer cooler temperatures (without the need for air-conditioning), you may want to focus your search above 700-800' elevation, especially in North and West Hawaii. 

The Rainfall Atlas of Hawaii, produced by the Geography Department of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is an excellent resource for a deeper investigation into Hawaii's weather and climate patterns. Your real estate agent can also provide additional information about particular properties using mapping tools provided by our MLS service.

To get you started, here are a few neighborhoods to compare:

West Hawaii

Neighborhood Elevation Avg Rainfall
Alii Heights (Kona) 200-400' 30-40 in
Puu Lani Ranch (Kona) 2000-2400' 20-30 in
Waikoloa Village 700-1000' 10 in
Lualai (Waimea) 2500' 30 in

East Hawaii

Neighborhood Elevation Avg Rainfall
Sunrise Ridge (Hilo) 200-300' 160 in
Kaumana City (Hilo) 2000' 200 in
Hawaiian Paradise Park (Puna) 0-500' 120 in
Volcano Golf & Country Club 4000' 78 in
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