It has been said that Maui has 17 micro-climates, from saturated rain forests with an rainfall well above 200 inches, to extremely arid conditions having less than 10 inches of annual precipitation. Within a distance of a few miles or single mountain ridge, the weather conditions can vary dramatically. Winds are typically lighter in the morning hours and begin to increase around 10 a.m. as the sun heats up the land surface.
Our dominant winds from the North-Northeast are called trade winds, aptly named after the whaling and trading or merchant vessels that brought an array of supplies to the Hawaiian Islands shortly after the arrival of Capt. James Cook. Trade winds blow at an average speed of 16 mile per hour roughly 75% of the year and provide a natural air flow cooling the Hawaiian Island archipelago. Since the eruption of Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii, Kona winds (kona - meaning south) have brought the residue of smoke, or volanic smog (VOG) from the Big Island to Maui and Oahu, often leading to poor visibility. The windward sides are namely those areas exposed to the prevailing trade winds.
The average temperature within the Hawaiian Islands will vary considerably (67 - 83 degrees). Mountainous or higher elevations and windward areas will have cooler temperatures than areas at sea level and the leeward (sheltered) locations. Temperatures will range as much as 10 degrees.
South Maui, Makena, Wailea Resort and the Lahaina District receive the least amount of precipitation and have the lightest winds providing the ideal weather for resorts and sun seeking vacationers.
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