USA: Alaska & Hawaii
About Alaska & Hawaii
Sara and John say...
Alaska and Hawaii:
These two non-continguous states could barely have more diverse weather with an arctic climate in Alaska and a tropical heat in Hawaii, but the one thing they do have is a diversity in weather depending on where you are in each state.
Think Alaska, and you probably think of extreme cold and snow. And you’d be right. Except, temperatures up to 100ºF/38ºC have been recorded inland in the summer, and that milestone sitting alongside the coldest recorded winter temperature of -80ºF/-62ºC proves Alaska can be a state of extremes. Daily temperatures typically reach the high teens Celsius in the summer months and hover around or fall below freezing from October to March.
The big variation across the state comes in the rainfall. The capital Juneau averages more than 1200mm of rain and snow a year - double that of London, England - and other parts of the southeast of the state receive more than six times that amount! But the protection of coastal mountains means other areas, including Anchorage, are much drier.
June to August are considered the best months to visit, with the potential for warmer weather, long days and short nights, and all of wildlife out of hibernation.
In Hawaii, there are just two seasons: Kau (summer) and Hooilo (winter). Not that there’s much temperature difference between them; an average of 30ºC in the summer and 26ºC in the winter. But there are climate differences across the islands, in major part due to the shielding properties of volcanic mountains and moisture-laden trade winds.
Most rain comes in the form of isolated downpours, so even a visit in the wettest months between November and March means you might stay dry. There are major storms in the winter period though with heavy rains and very strong winds. But true hurricanes rarely hit Hawaii; although tropical storms do happen in the autumn.
There isn’t really a must-avoid time for Hawaii, but the late spring months and September offer reliably quiet and warm weather and aren’t quite as busy as other times of the year. And if you go - don’t rely on a weather app for planning - it will look like a wash-out with automated rain symbols at all hours - even though it might only rain for a few minutes on that one corner of the beach! Watching a human presented forecast is a must.