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6. Hawaiian Weather

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Prevailing winds (called “trade winds”) come from the northeast. This important fact explains a lot. The winds from the ocean come in full of water and hit the northeast side of each island. As they do, they bring rain to the northeast shore, leaving the southwest shore of each island generally dry and sunny. The rainy side is called the windward side, and the dry side is called the leeward (or kona) side. So tropical paradises like Hilo on the Big Island or the road to Hana on Maui tend to be on the east or northeast shore, while sunny beaches like Waikiki on Oahu, Kihei and Kaanapali on Maui, or Kona on the Big Island tend to be on the west or south shore. If you hear a Hawaiian talk about kona winds, it means an abnormal wind pattern coming from the kona, or south/southwest side of the island.

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