About Hawaii’s Trade Winds

Palm trees swaying in the wind

You’ve heard about Hawaii’s wonderful trade winds and that they’re the secret of the fantastic weather we enjoy here, right? But, occasionally, locals might say, “Uh-oh, Kona winds; too bad.”

Do you know exactly what trade winds are? They prevail about ninety-percent of the time during the summer months and blow from the northeast or east northeast. They were called trade winds a couple of centuries ago, when trade ships depended on them for fast passage to their Pacific-island destinations. What we care about now is that they mean perfect temperatures assisted by welcome breezes.

The dreaded Kona winds blow from the opposite direction, the southwest. They usually don’t last for more than a day or two, but they bring humidity, cloudy skies and rain. Visitors – especially those from areas with high humidity and frequent summer rains – often don’t notice Kona weather beyond the absence of perfection in the climate, but those of us who live here consider Kona-wind days to be days for indoor, air-conditioned activities.


  1. Hi Bruce,

    I found this post while searching “what happened to the trade winds?”. Perhaps you should update this post (2008) since things have changed a lot.

    The trades have disappeared! Muggy and voggy since May 2013 most of the time it seems (Waikiki). The trades returned for 2 days about 2 weeks ago then back to vog and humidity.

    Fees like SW Florida. What are your thoughts?

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