Weather and surf reports vary tremendously depending on the time of year and your location on Kauai. During your tropical vacation you may find yourself in an area where it is raining or the surf is not to your liking. You wonder what it is like on the other shores of Kauai’s coast. Following is a list of websites and phone numbers that may help you determine the best place to spend your day.
If you want to see exactly what an area is like, at any given time, the best way is to check out the various live web cams that are around the island. Currently there are six on the north shore, five on the south shore and two on the east shore. When clicking the link to each camera, you will be taken to the website which hosts the web cam. The map at the bottom of the page shows the specific locations of each camera. This allows you to see the current weather at thirteen spots around Kauai.
I must start by saying that I do not put much faith in any weather forecast for Kauai. Many times my guests arrive thinking that for sure it is going to rain the whole time they are on island. At least, that is what their phones tell them. Remember, if it shows that it will rain on a given day, it may or may not. And, even if it does, often moisture falls at night or in passing showers. Rarely do we get the kind of rain that keeps one from doing an activity.
When I do need to look up the weather forecast, I find Wunderground to be the most reliable. They have stations around the island, one just mountainside of Princeville. They literally have hourly forecasts, as well as daily and ten-day activity. The site indicates temperature, precipitation percentages and amounts, cloud cover, humidity and wind.
Surf varies around Kauai according to the time of year. Larger waves show up on the north shore in the winter. Swells tend to be bigger in the south during the summer months. In between it is anybody’s guess. Surfline has daily reports of surf at ten different surfing spots around the island.
From Surfline’s website: “There’s a reason you don’t see too many headlines coming out of Kauai. An island rich in surf resources, local surfers have done an excellent job over the years minimizing its exposure on most surf maps. Both the north and south shores of the island are holding some A-plus surf. In the summer months, the area around Poipu comes to life with clean, playful south swells. Things get considerably more serious in the winter when northwest swells hit the north shore of Kauai. The pristine Na Pali coast offers a glimpse of the true, raw beauty still on offer in some of the more remote corners of the Hawaiian islands. From Andy and Bruce Irons, to Bethany Hamilton, to Alana Blanchard and Sebastian Zietz, some of Hawaii’s top talent has emerged from the Garden Isle in recent years. Like so many spots throughout the Hawaiian Islands, the island of Kauai is affected by dramatic swings of the tide, swell angle, swell period, as well as wind direction and wind speed. With over a half-century of surf reporting experience behind us, Surfline is able to ensure that every Kauai report is accurate, detailed and designed to provide the most current, updated surf report and surf forecast.”
Enjoy this two minute video of surfing in Hanalei Bay. Judging from the number of boats in the bay, this video was filmed in the spring. Waves can reach 40 to 50 feet at this same spot in the winter.
Unfortunately, after very heavy rains on Kauai, streams and rivers bring silt and debris into the ocean. When this happens it is best to find beaches that are not close to these inlets of water. The Kauai chapter of the Surfrider Foundation lists beaches that have brown water advisories in effect. They also host volunteer beach clean-up days. Think about giving back to the island, and meeting some friendly local people in the process, by spending a few hours picking up derelict fishing nets and trash on one of our beaches. A list of upcoming events is also on their website.
Hurricane season is from June to November. Every summer and fall residents hold their breath as each new tropical storm moves across the Pacific Ocean. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center which is run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracks these storms and predicts their trajectory. Over the years they have become more and more accurate with their predictions. The storms bring wind, sometimes lots of it, and rain. Kauai’s last major hurricane was Iniki in 1992.
Using current weather, surf, public safety alerts and beach conditions the fire department calculates hazard levels at ten Kauai beaches, both nearshore and offshore. The website lists any high surf advisories in effect. On the right-hand side of the website one can find lists of life-guarded, recommended and closed beaches around Kauai.
The Hawaii Ocean Safety website gives information about what one should know before getting in Hawaiian waters, safety tips for ocean activities and how to pick a beach. Knowledge is king.
Weather Related Phone Numbers:
National Weather Service: (808) 245-3564
Updates on the Hanalei Bridge and other road closures: (808) 241-1725
Hopefully these websites and phone numbers, regarding weather and surf reports, will be helpful to you as you navigate around the Garden Island. Remember rain brings rainbows and lush scenic beauty. Do not let a few drops spoil your trip. With the knowledge you now have, stay safe and have a blast!
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