Snow dusts Big Island summits

  • Subaru/Special to West Hawaii Today
  • UKIRT/Special to West Hawaii Today

KAILUA-KONA — This weekend’s powerful winter storm left Maunakea and Mauna Loa dusted in snow.

The Mauna Kea Access Road is currently closed due to below freezing temperatures and high humidity causing icy road conditions, the Maunakea Rangers said at 11:47 a.m. Monday.

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“The access road to the summit of Maunakea remains closed to the public above the Maunakea Visitor Information Station due to below freezing temperatures and high humidity causing icy road conditions,” the rangers said.

At 12:24 p.m., west-northwest winds of 53 mph were being recorded at the Maunakea summit. The temperature was 22 degrees.

At height of the winter storm, winds whipped to 191 mph at the top of Maunakea on Sunday afternoon.

A high wind warning is in effect until 6 p.m. today for the summits. West winds of 50 to 75 mph with gusts up to 90 mph were expected to decrease to 40 to 60 mph winds for both summits.

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The Big Island summits weren’t the only locale in the state to get snow with Maui’s Haleakala reporting snowfall as well as other areas on the Valley Isle.

“For perhaps the first time ever, snow has fallen in a Hawaii State Park. Polipoli State Park on Maui is blanketed with snow. It could be the lowest elevation snow ever recorded in the state. Polipoli is at 6,200 feet elevation,” the Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a Facebook post Sunday.

  1. Kaipo Wall February 11, 2019 12:35 pm

    ” At height of the winter storm, winds whipped to 191 mph at the top of Maunakea on Sunday afternoon”

    Is this a new wind record for Mauna Kea ?

    I have never heard of such high winds up there . .

    Could it be a mistaken report ?

    The VLBA and the weather towers around the summit would have been wrecked by winds

    that strong . Yet everything looks ok on the webcams


    1. J.P. Evans February 11, 2019 4:03 pm

      One can assume that since Hawaii does get hit by hurricanes nearly annually, that the weather monitoring and recording instrumentation up there would be intentionally designed and installed to survive such forces.


  2. KonaDude February 12, 2019 5:47 am

    Not a snowboarder in sight anywhere(.Y.)


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