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If you’re wondering what the coldest temperature ever recorded in Honolulu, Hawaii is, you’ve come to the right place. Honolulu is known for its warm, tropical climate but has experienced some unusually frigid weather over the years.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore Honolulu’s coldest temperature on record and learn more about the factors that lead to Hawaii’s occasional cold snaps.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The coldest temperature ever officially recorded in Honolulu is 52°F on January 20, 1969.

Honolulu’s Coldest Temperature on Record

Cold weather in Hawaii

When people think of Honolulu, they usually imagine warm tropical beaches and sunny weather. However, Honolulu has experienced some surprisingly chilly temperatures in the past.

In fact, the coldest temperature ever recorded in Honolulu is a fascinating piece of weather history.

The Record-Breaking Cold Snap

On the morning of January 20th, 1969, Honolulu residents woke up to a surprising sight – a layer of frost covering their lawns and cars.

The temperature had dropped to a bone-chilling 52 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius), breaking the previous record of 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius) set in 1949.

This may not seem cold compared to some other parts of the world, but for a city known for its warm climate, it was quite a shock.

The Unusual Weather Patterns

So what caused this unusually cold weather in Honolulu? The main culprit was a strong cold front that moved down from the north, bringing cold air from the mainland United States.

This cold air clashed with the typically warm ocean temperatures surrounding Hawaii, resulting in the unexpected drop in temperature.

It’s important to note that while this was a record-breaking event for Honolulu, it is still relatively mild compared to the extreme cold experienced in other parts of the world.

Nonetheless, it serves as a reminder that even in paradise, the weather can sometimes surprise us.

Also read: What Is The Weather Like In Hawaii?

Preparing for Cold Weather in Honolulu

While cold temperatures in Honolulu are rare, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for any weather event.

If you find yourself in Honolulu during a cold snap, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Dress in layers to stay warm
  • Keep your home insulated and use heaters if necessary
  • Protect your plants by covering them or bringing them indoors
  • Be cautious on the roads, as frost can make them slippery

Remember, even in a tropical paradise like Honolulu, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to unexpected weather changes.


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Typical Honolulu Weather Patterns

When you think of Honolulu, you probably imagine warm, tropical weather and beautiful beaches. While this is generally true, Honolulu’s weather patterns can vary throughout the year.

Let’s take a closer look at the typical weather you can expect in this vibrant city.

1. Warm Temperatures Year-Round

One of the reasons why Honolulu is a popular tourist destination is its warm temperatures throughout the year. On average, the city experiences highs in the 80s (°F) and lows in the 70s (°F).

The warmest months are typically July and August, with temperatures reaching the mid to high 80s (°F).

Even in the winter months, you can still enjoy temperatures in the 70s (°F), making it a pleasant escape from colder climates.

Also read: What Is The Weather Like In Hawaii In January?

2. Consistent Trade Winds

Trade winds play a significant role in Honolulu’s weather patterns. These winds blow from the northeast and bring a refreshing breeze to the city. They help to moderate the temperature and make the heat more bearable.

The trade winds also contribute to the famous surf culture in Honolulu, creating ideal conditions for water sports enthusiasts.

3. Wet and Dry Seasons

Honolulu experiences distinct wet and dry seasons. The wet season typically occurs from November to March, while the dry season lasts from April to October.

During the wet season, you can expect occasional rain showers, which help to keep the landscape lush and green.

However, don’t worry about your beach plans being ruined – the showers are usually short-lived, and the sun quickly returns.

Also read: When Exactly Is The Rainy Season In Hawaii?

4. Hurricane Season

Like many other tropical locations, Honolulu is susceptible to hurricanes during the hurricane season, which runs from June to November. However, the chances of a direct hit from a hurricane are relatively low.

Thanks to its location in the Pacific Ocean, most hurricanes tend to veer away from the Hawaiian Islands. Nevertheless, it’s always good to stay informed and prepared during this time of the year.

5. Microclimates and Rain Shadows

One interesting aspect of Honolulu’s weather is the presence of microclimates and rain shadows. Due to the unique geography of the island of Oahu, certain areas experience more rainfall than others.

The windward side of the island, where Honolulu is located, receives more precipitation due to the moisture-laden trade winds.

On the other hand, the leeward side of the island, such as the popular tourist destination of Waikiki, experiences less rainfall and more sunshine.

Also read: Windward Vs Leeward Oahu: A Detailed Comparison

What Causes Cold Temperatures in Honolulu?

When we think of Honolulu, we often associate it with warm tropical weather and beautiful beaches. However, even in paradise, temperatures can drop unexpectedly.

So, what causes these cold temperatures in Honolulu?

1. Seasonal Variation

Like many other places, Honolulu experiences seasonal variations in temperature.

During the winter months, from December to February, temperatures can be cooler compared to the rest of the year.

This is due to the influence of the trade winds and the cooler air masses moving over the islands.

2. Elevation

The elevation of Honolulu plays a significant role in its temperature fluctuations. While the coastal areas may have milder temperatures, the higher elevated areas, such as the mountains surrounding the city, can experience much colder temperatures.

For example, the summit of Mauna Kea, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, can reach freezing temperatures, even during the summer months.

3. Cold Fronts

Occasionally, cold fronts can move through the Hawaiian Islands, bringing cooler temperatures and even precipitation to Honolulu. These cold fronts are typically associated with low-pressure systems and can cause a sudden drop in temperature.

While not as common as in other parts of the world, these cold fronts can still impact the weather in Honolulu.

4. Ocean Currents

The ocean currents surrounding the Hawaiian Islands also influence the temperature of Honolulu. The Pacific Ocean’s Kuroshio Current, which originates from the northwestern Pacific, can bring cooler waters to the area.

When these cooler waters interact with the warm air over the islands, it can lead to a decrease in temperature.

5. Weather Patterns

The interplay of various weather patterns, such as high-pressure systems and atmospheric disturbances, can also contribute to colder temperatures in Honolulu.

These patterns can influence the movement and distribution of air masses, leading to changes in temperature.

Understanding these weather patterns is crucial in predicting and understanding the occurrence of colder temperatures in Honolulu.

Other Notably Cold Days in Honolulu

1. The “Snow Day” of 1938

While Honolulu is known for its warm and tropical climate, there have been a few instances in history when the temperatures dropped unexpectedly.

One such notable event occurred on February 11, 1938, when a rare snowfall surprised the residents of the city. The image of snow-capped palm trees and locals building snowmen made headlines worldwide.

Although the snow quickly melted, it remains a remarkable moment in Honolulu’s weather history.

Also read: Unveiling the Mystery: Did Snow Ever Grace Oahu’s Shores?

2. The Cold Snap of 1969

In January 1969, Honolulu experienced an unusually cold spell that left locals shivering. The temperature dropped to a record low of 52 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius) and caught many residents off guard.

People bundled up in coats and scarves, unaccustomed to such chilly conditions. While this may seem mild to those accustomed to colder climates, it was a significant drop from the average temperatures of this tropical paradise.

3. The “Freeze Warning” of 2019

More recently, Honolulu faced another cold snap in February 2019, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a “freeze warning” for the island of Oahu.

Temperatures plunged to 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius), causing concern among locals and leading to precautions like covering sensitive plants and bringing pets indoors.

Although not as extreme as the temperatures experienced in other parts of the world, it was an unusual event for Honolulu.

4. Other Uncommon Cold Days

While these instances stand out in Honolulu’s weather history, there have been a few other notable cold days as well.

In December 1987, temperatures dropped to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius), causing some residents to joke about needing jackets and gloves.

Similarly, in January 2004, a cold front pushed temperatures down to 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius), leading to a temporary break from the typically warm weather.

It is important to note that these colder days in Honolulu are exceptions to the norm, as the city typically enjoys warm and pleasant weather throughout the year. However, they serve as a reminder that even in paradise, the weather can occasionally surprise us.

Also read: What Is The Coldest It Gets In Hawaii?

How to Prepare for Cold Temperatures in Honolulu

Prepare for Cold Temperatures in Honolulu

Dress in Layers

When cold temperatures hit Honolulu, it’s essential to dress appropriately to stay warm and comfortable.

Layering your clothing is the key to adapting to changing temperatures throughout the day.

Start with a base layer made of moisture-wicking material to keep you dry. Add a middle layer for insulation, such as a sweater or fleece jacket.

Finally, top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect against any harsh weather conditions.

Don’t forget to wear a hat, gloves, and thick socks to keep extremities warm.

Protect Your Home

Cold temperatures can also affect your home, so it’s important to take necessary precautions. Make sure your pipes are properly insulated to prevent them from freezing and bursting.

Seal any gaps or cracks around windows and doors to keep cold air out and warm air in. Consider using draft stoppers for extra insulation.

If you have plants or pets, bring them indoors or provide adequate shelter to protect them from the cold.

Stay Informed

Keep yourself updated with the latest weather forecasts and advisories. Local news channels and websites like provide accurate and reliable information about current and upcoming weather conditions in Honolulu.

Stay tuned to these sources for any warnings or alerts related to cold temperatures. This will help you make informed decisions and take necessary precautions.

Be Prepared for Power Outages

Severe cold temperatures can sometimes lead to power outages. It’s important to be prepared for such situations. Have a backup plan in place, including alternative heating sources like a generator or a fireplace.

Stock up on non-perishable food items, drinking water, and essential supplies like batteries, flashlights, and blankets.

Being prepared ahead of time will ensure that you and your family stay safe and comfortable during any power outages.

Take Care of Yourself and Others

In cold temperatures, it’s crucial to take care of yourself and those around you. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, even though you may not feel as thirsty as you would in warmer weather.

Avoid prolonged exposure to the cold, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

Check on elderly neighbors or family members who may need assistance. Remember, it’s not just about staying warm, but also looking out for one another during challenging weather conditions.

Also read: The Coldest Place In Hawaii


To summarize, while Honolulu is known for its warm, tropical climate, the Hawaiian capital has experienced some unusually cold weather over the years.

The coldest temperature ever officially recorded in the city is 52°F on January 20, 1969.

Various weather factors like storms, winds, and air pressure changes can lead to temperature dips in Honolulu during the winter months.

By understanding Honolulu’s weather patterns and taking sensible cold weather precautions, residents and visitors can stay comfortable even during the city’s coolest days.

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