Hawaii Weather is Different.

Let me tell you, folks: When it rains in Hawaii, it comes down by the bucketsful. And the rain we got this past Monday was not just a passing squall. It rained like hell for hours and here on Maui, the  water running off Haleakala, our 10,000-foot dormant volcano, followed channels and gullies that have been carved out over the millennia. One of those gullies directed the water across our property where it went up and over our driveway, scouring off probably a thousand dollars worth of gravel . . . the fourth time this has happened in the past 18 years.

As a teenager back in Connecticut, I remember what we used to call “cloudbursts”. The heavens would open up and it would pour. But not for long . . . just a matter of a minute or two.

Three or four times a year it pours like that here, but it can keep up for an hour or more, pounding down onto our roof so hard that it almost drowns out conversation at a normal volume. When it rains like that, there’s a gray fog two feet high over the entire house . . . it’s the rain hitting the roof so hard it vaporizes. 

But, day after day, the weather is mostly beautiful. We live “up country” at about 1,000 feet above sea level and with a view of Haleakala. When the mornings get a bit nippy here, my Hawaii-born wife gets cranky and we start a fire in the wood-burning stove in our living room. Just a dozen miles from here, in an area called Kula, it can get down into the low-40’s at night. 

Of course, it also seems to be true that when the bad weather arrives, it can be  really awful.  Hurricane Iniki hit the island of Kauai in 1992 and, according to the head of the Public Works Department for that island, that one storm generated 30 years worth of trash in 90 minutes.

However, it does seem to me that the weather here in Hawaii was better 50 years ago . . . more consistently benign, with bright sun, afternoon temperatures in the mid-80s and trade winds blowing at 6-to-8 miles per hour day after day for probably 50 weeks a year.

Of course, it isn’t for everyone. Years ago in Honolulu, I worked with a guy who had moved here from Minnesota. I ran into him in a coffee break one morning and said, “How’s it going, Lou?”

He glared at me and said, “Oh, it’s all right, I guess . . . considering it’s another one of these goddam beautiful days!”

Six months later, he moved back to Minneapolis.