The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) said on Feb. 13 that “temperatures will drop statewide through Thursday as our winter weather pattern continues.”
Meanwhile, that means “snow showers and periods of freezing rain” will hit the Big Island summits of Maunakea and Maunaloa as well as the summit of Haleakala on Maui.
“A winter storm warning is in effect for all three summits today and tomorrow. Warmer temperatures are forecast on Thursday night over Haleakala with snow transitioning to rain showers overnight,” the weather service said.
“Snow showers and icy conditions will continue over the highest peaks on the Big Island through Friday. Avoid traveling to the summits during this period as icy roads and low visibilities will produce treacherous driving conditions,” it added.
On the peaks of the Big Island mountains, about 3 to 5 inches of snow and about a quarter of an inch of ice are predicted.
View this post on Instagram
A winter storm warning was issued for the Big Island summits and a winter storm warning was issued for Haleakala.
Snow in Maui
Earlier this week, snow fell at an unusually low elevation in a state park in Maui for likely the first time. The coating occurred at 6,200 feet elevation, said officials.
But snow on Hawaii’s mountain peaks isn’t uncommon in the winter months as some are more than 10,000 feet in elevation.
Harsh winds also slammed Hawaii last week, with gusts reaching 191 mph.
According to this 1962 issue of Weatherwise, the lowest known snow on Haleakala (Maui Island) was 7,500′ in 1952. Yesterday, snow was observed as low as 6,200′. H/T @firebomb56 pic.twitter.com/bjKf7sReLi
— Brian Brettschneider (@Climatologist49) February 11, 2019
“[P]erhaps [for] the first time ever, snow has fallen in a Hawaii State Park,” Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) wrote on Facebook on Feb. 10.
It added: “Polipoli State Park on Maui is blanketed with snow. It could also be the lowest elevation snow ever recorded in the state.”
Melissa Dye, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told KHON that it’s uncommon to see snow at such a low elevation.
“That is pretty rare for Maui,” she said. “I had talked to a ranger this morning and he said they had 4-foot drifts. Very impactful.”
“This system was so cold and strong, those lower temperatures helped any precept falling to fall as snow,” Dye said, adding that such weather patterns are “typical for this time of year.”
There were also reports of 60-foot-tall waves slamming the coastline, CBS News reported.
View this post on Instagram
“(Forecasters) are calling this an unprecedented event and we concur that we rarely if ever have seen the combination of record high on-shore waves, coupled with gale force winds,” said Sam Lemmo, administrator of the DLNR.
“That’s the strongest wind gust I’ve ever seen up there,” said Jon Jelsema, senior forecaster at the Weather Service office in Honolulu of the 191 mph gust, The Washington Post (via the Straits Times) reported.