Midway Island has a tropical savanna type of climate (Köppen climate classification Aw), with lovely temperatures throughout the year. The atoll has pleasant summers and winters, with ample sunshine and year-round rainfall. Midway is an extension of the Pacific islands and the only one that is not part of the state of Hawaii. The island lies approximately midway between California and East Asia in the North Pacific Ocean and is part of the United States Minor Outlying Islands. The location near the Tropic of Cancer and proximity to the Pacific Ocean are the primary factors that influence the climate of the islands.
Midway Island or Midway Atoll mainly consists of two large islands, the Sand Island and the Eastern Island, with a small Spit Island separating them. The total land area is 2.4 square miles, with a beautiful coastline that spans 9.3 miles. The atoll has an almost flat terrain with many low and sandy islands, with the highest point at 13 meters above sea level. A 5-mile diameter barrier reef of coral encircles the islands and supports a diverse marine ecology. The island is a National Wildlife Refuge with more than 250 species of animals, birds, and marine life occupying the land, lagoon, and surrounding ocean waters. Prevailing easterly winds moderate the subtropical climate to a large extent.
Like all tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean, Midway Island has mainly two seasons. May to September is relatively dry and hot, while October to April is warm and accounts for two-thirds of the annual precipitation. Temperature variations are minimal and typically do not span above 10°F (-12.2°C) between day and night. Cloud cover and relative humidity increase during the wet period, but the conditions are tolerable. Extreme temperatures are highly uncommon, and it is rare for them to scale 90°F (32.2°C) or drop below 55°F (12.8°C). The Pacific Ocean engulfs the island, and the plentiful supply of fresh sea air keeps the climate pleasant.
The annual rainfall in Midway Island averages an ample 42" (1066.8mm) and is characteristic of the tropics. Precipitation occurs throughout the year with the driest months in May and June. Winter is the wettest season, but there is no specific dry season. The sun rays are directly overhead near the Tropic of Cancer, providing ample daylight hours. Sea temperatures remain between 68°F (20°C) to 81°F (27.2°C) and are mild to warm year-round. Wind speeds remain mostly below 15mph (24.1km/h) except during tropical storms.
The highest temperature on record for Midway Island is 92°F (33.3°C), and the lowest is 51°F (10.6°C).
The best time to visit Midway Island
The best time to visit Midway Island is in the relatively dry period between March to June. The days are sunny, and the rainfall is at the lowest of the year. The sea waters are calm, with temperatures registering between 68°F (20°C) to 75°F (23.9°C). The island and the surrounding waters are a protected environment and require a permit for visiting and staying. The dry period is the peak season of the seabird population on the island, including various species of albatrosses.
The worst time to visit Midway Island
The worst time to visit Midway Island, if there is any, is between September to December when the temperatures gradually drop and the cyclone season is in progress. Tropical cyclones regularly invade the coast and pose harsh questions. July to December is particularly prone to thunderstorms with lightning strikes and hurricanes. The precipitation is massive, and there is at least a 50% chance of rain every day.
Midway Island is prone to thunderstorms, hurricanes, cyclones, and earthquakes. Wind speeds reach above 100mph (160.9km/h) with severe rainfall and lightning during tropical storms. Tropical cyclones routinely pose threats from July to December, and even the rest of the year is not out of their reach. Thunderstorms are a more significant threat than Pacific hurricanes. The location of the islands is susceptible to seismic activity as it extends the volcanic chain that begins from Hawaii and is subject to earthquakes of moderate magnitudes. A 2011 earthquake and resultant tsunami submerged reef inlets and Spit Island with large scale loss of nesting seabirds.
Weather in January
January is the wettest month of the year in Midway Island with 4.9" (124.5mm) of rainfall. The skies are partly cloudy, the relative humidity is high, and it rains for an average of 16 days in the month. Temperatures are comfortable during the cold season on the atoll, with the averages between in the mild range of 62°F (16.7°C) to 70°F (21.1°C). Ocean water temperatures are at the coldest of the year at 68°F (20°C), which is still comfortable for water activities. The possibility of thunderstorms and tropical storms is low, but they are not absent. The daylight lasts for more than 10.5 hours, as is standard for the tropics. Wind speeds are low, often below 10mph (16.1km/h) during the day. A cruise may briefly alter its course to stop near Midway Island during the New Year in January for the benefit of passengers, but not before passing strict pollution checks.
Weather in February
February is the coldest month of the year in Midway Island, with the average temperatures in the mild 62°F (16.7°C) to 69°F (20.6°C) range. Temperature variations are little and rarely exceed 10°F (-12.2°C) as days and nights are pleasant with no exceptional weather events. Localized weather patterns in the surrounding waters pose significant influence on the weather. The flat terrain and the sandy, salty environment is easy for walking and provides an unhindered view of the horizon for several miles in the bright sunlight. Precipitation is to the tune of 3.8" (96.5mm) in the month with occasional periods of heavy rain. Hawaiian monk seals frequent the Eastern Island waters and lies in large numbers on the sunny beaches. A light rain jacket is handy during wet periods and breezy evenings, but winter clothing is generally unnecessary. February offers pleasant weather in Midway Island when most of North America is in the grip of the cold winter season.
Weather in March
March is the beginning of a relatively dry period in Midway Island with the rainfall registering an average of 3" (76.2mm). The conditions are pleasant, with day temperatures below 73°F (22.8°C) and nights above 60°F (15.6°C). Cold winds from the continent do not reach as far as the islands, keeping the conditions warm and desirable. The tropical waters average a mild 68°F (20°C), and the lagoon is teeming with various fishes that prosper in size due to the restriction on fishing. The daylight lasts for more than 12 hours, which gives ample time to explore the island on foot or rental bikes. Broad-brimmed hats and sunglasses offer protection from the bright sunrays whose ultraviolet index is at a high of 9. March is the time when the albatross population is at its peak on Midway Island, and there is seldom a place outdoors where they are not within touching distance of the visitors.
Weather in April
April receives warm sunshine in Midway Island as the conditions gradually become dry with the decrease in rainfall. The average temperatures are in the warm range of 64°F (17.8°C) to 72°F (22.2°C) with daylight that lasts more than 13 hours. The precipitation averages 3" (76.2mm), but there is a marked decrease in the number of wet days in the month. Thunderstorms are few, and wind speeds remain modest much of the time in April. Waves lap softy on the white sandy shores and the warm waters welcome divers to the underwater world. Spinner dolphins are at home in the lagoon waters, which are calm and transparent and give the feeling of a long lost world. Light summer clothes such as sweatshirts, t-shirts, and shorts are perfect while exploring the island. The combination of beautiful blue skies and sunny days with comfortable temperatures makes April a good time to visit Midway Island.
Weather in May
May is an excellent time to visit Midway Island as the dry season takes its hold on the surroundings. The precipitation averages 2.4" (61mm) with nine wet days in the month. The average temperatures are in the warm 67°F (19.4°C) to 75°F (23.9°C) range that makes much of the temperate weather accustomed visitors feel at home. The skies are clear, and the intense sun rays ask for protection in the form of hats and sunglasses. The humidity levels are comfortable and surprisingly moderate for the tropics, with the wind and water regulating the temperatures to a large extent. Tourists usually prefer the period when the albatross crowd the island, to watch the spectacle of the thousands of sea birds. The dry season is a good time to rent a paddleboat and venture out near the coast in the calm waters. Albatross chicks start to feather by May in Midway Island.
Weather in June
June is the driest month of the year in Midway Island with 2.1" (53.3mm) of rainfall. The average temperatures rise sharply to register in the warm 73°F (22.8°C) to 81°F (27.2°C) range. The low-lying landscape is panoramic, and the bright daylight hours aids in taking clear photographs. Afternoon hours are hot but remain below 90°F (32.2°C), and the heat is of the dry kind rather than the humid type. The wind is nearly absent except for the mornings and evenings when it blows in the form of a gentle breeze at the most. The seawater temperatures are at a warm 75°F (23.9°C), which makes them enticing to escape from the heat. Sunset occurs late in June and is beautiful in the background of the calm seawater. Midway Island has long days that last at least 14 hours with brilliant sunshine in June. Light and loose-fitting summer clothes are preferable in the warm conditions of the day.
Weather in July
July sees a rise in wetness in Midway Island as the rainfall registers a significant 3.4" (86.4mm). Precipitation is due every alternate day, and showers occur regularly during the afternoons. Thunderstorms are active in the region due to localized weather patterns and frequently bring lightning and rain along with them. The tropical storm season begins in July and begins the reversal of the dry weather cycle. The skies are partially cloudy, but sunshine is never short and weak in the atoll. The average temperatures are in the 75°F (23.9°C) to 83°F (28.3°C) range, and the humidity levels are slightly high in July. Naturalists and scientists who form the major percentage of the visitors find the waters to be teeming with a variety of fish due to the relative lack of fishing pressure. Evenings have plenty of daylight for a relaxing walk along the untouched beaches in Midway Island in July.
Weather in August
August is usually the hottest month of the year in Midway Island, with the average temperatures in the range of 76°F (24.4°C) to 84°F (28.9°C). Very few days register above the 90°F (32.2°C) barrier, and the record for the month remains at 92°F (33.3°C). The rainfall averages 4.3" (109.2mm) with 15 rainy days in the month. The sunrays are bright, and the ultraviolet index is at a dangerous level of 11. Plants such as bunchgrass and puncture wine thrive in the salty environment where there is a lack of broad-leafed, shady trees. Cruise ship passengers passing through the Pacific can enter the wildlife refuge with the help of boats. The visitors have enough sunlight to explore the island before leaving by 8 p.m. The flat terrain is comfortable for walking, and the horizon is mostly clear, as the ocean waters. Comfortable, loose-fitting summer clothes are suitable during the day in August in Midway Island.
Weather in September
September is a warm month in Midway Island with the average temperatures in the 75°F (23.9°C) to 84°F (28.9°C) range. The days see bright sunshine with patches of cloudy and wet weather. The atoll receives 3.8" (96.5mm) of rainfall during 15 wet days in the month that are prone to thunderstorms and tropical storms. Hundreds of Laysan and black-footed albatross inhabit the islands, mainly on the Sand Island, and the chicks grow up fast in the warm weather. Green sea turtles lie on the sunny shores with very little human interference to disturb them. Wind speeds are below 15mph (24.1km/h) except during tropical cyclones when they can rise to devastating speeds. Beautiful white sand beaches on the northern part of the island lie in wait for visitors. Tourists try to avoid the hot and dry conditions, especially during the afternoon. The temperatures gradually decrease by the end of September in Midway Island.
Weather in October
October sees a moderate drop in temperatures in Midway Island with the averages registering in the warm 73°F (22.8°C) to 80°F (26.7°C) range. The hot and dry season gives way to pleasant conditions with gentle breezes in the evenings. The average precipitation is 3.8" (96.5mm) in October, but the tropical storm season is not yet over. Storms occasionally bring rain that lasts several days and makes it challenging to stay on the island. Visitors get opportunities for snorkeling and viewing the coral reefs when the bright sunshine pierces the tranquil and clear waters. Sea temperatures average a warm 77°F (25°C) and are suitable for swimming and diving. Keep in mind that the albatrosses have little to fear from humans with less contact from the human population. October has many sunny days to explore the beautiful islands, white sandy beaches, and exotic underwater marine life in Midway Island.
Weather in November
November sees average temperatures between 69°F (20.6°C) to 76°F (24.4°C) in Midway Island as the weather tends to be on the mild side. Afternoon showers frequently occur on the islands, and there is hardly a period when a couple of days pass without rain. Rain jackets are useful during extended stays upwards of one week. Very few visitors get to view the millions of sea birds and swim in the refreshing lagoon waters in an environment devoid of human interference. The easterly trade winds blow with moderate intensity and, most of the time, mark their presence with only gentle breezes. The skies are partly cloudy and contribute to the humidity during the night. The island is a fantastic sight with wildflowers and innumerable seabirds dotting the landscape during the sunny days. November is a pleasant time to visit Midway Island and experience a peaceful realm altogether.
Weather in December
December is pleasant in Midway Island, with the average temperatures in the 65°F (18.3°C) to 73°F (22.8°C) range. Sixteen wet days in the month accumulate an average of 4.1" (104.1mm) of rainfall. There is no shortage of daylight with at least 11 hours of daily sunshine. The skies are partly cloudy in the afternoons when the chance of rain is the highest of the day. The few visitors that tour the island have ample time at their disposal to study the natural habitat or to take a dip in the lagoon and experience the fantastic underwater world. Keep in mind that the tropical cyclone season lasts well until December, and a raging storm is no surprise in the tropical Pacific islands. A rain jacket over light and comfortable clothes are sufficient to counter wet conditions. A tour in December to Midway Island is like a long-cherished dream come true for the interested few.