Do you want to build a snowman in paradise? Hawaii’s mountainous peaks picked up 8 inches of snow overnight this week after a blizzard hit the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Most of the snow fell late Tuesday into early Wednesday, and a blizzard warning for Mauna Kea and its sister peak Mauna Loa was cancelled Thursday. A few additional snow showers were forecast, with no accumulation expected.
While the summits received snow, the rest of the Big Island dealt with heavy rain and thunderstorms that pelted the lower elevations. Both Oahu and Kauai were under flash flood warnings. Temperatures were mild, with highs in the 70s and 80s.
Snow on Hawaii’s peaks is not uncommon in the colder months because they are nearly 14,000 feet high. Mauna Kea has a sub-Arctic climate, the weather service said.
“As long as we have deep enough clouds to support ice crystals, and when you have cold enough temperatures at the summit level, you can get snowfall,” said Matthew Foster, a staff meteorologist with the weather service in Honolulu.
Snow fell on both mountains on at least two occasions in December. Mauna Loa and its sister peak of Mauna Kea are both volcanoes. Mauna Kea is the highest point in the state.
The only other area of Hawaii that gets snow with any regularity is the Haleakalā volcano on Maui, which at about 10,000 feet gets snow once every five years or so.
The coldest temperature ever recorded in Hawaii was 12 degrees on Mauna Kea on May 17, 1979, the weather service said. (USATODAY)