Snowplows are busy on Hawaii’s Big Island, removing snow that continues to fall on Mauna Kea, the tallest summit on the island and in the state. An April snowstorm has brought several inches of snow to the higher terrain of Hawaii, prompting officials to close roads until they’re free of snow and ice.
In an update released this morning, the Mauna Kea Rangers wrote, “The access road to the summit of Maunakea is CLOSED to the public at the Visitor Information Station at an elevation of 9,200 feet due to snowy conditions, below-freezing temperatures, high humidity, and wet roadways that will likely develop into icy conditions.”
The National Weather Service in Honolulu on the island of Oahu, which is responsible for issuing watches and warnings state-wide throughout Hawaii, has extended the Winter Weather Advisory that was in effect yesterday to 6pm today Hawaii time. “A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow, sleet, or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities and use caution while driving,” the Honolulu meteorologists wrote. They expect an additional 2″ to fall today on top of the snow that fell yesterday.
— the Weatherboy (@theWeatherboy) April 3, 2023
While most people don’t associate the tropical paradise Hawaii is known for with snow, they’re surprised to learn that it does snow in the winter due to the elevation of the volcanic peaks on Hawaii and Maui islands. Mauna Kea is the highest of the bunch at 13,803 feet. Maui’s Haleakala is much lower at 10,023 feet. Because of that difference, Hawaii Island will see snow more frequently than the lower Maui Island. Just one storm in January 2020 dropped 2-3 feet of snow on Hawaii Island and created snow drifts that were far deeper. Another storm in January 2021 brought snowboarders and skiers out to the mountain by the dozens. A blizzard hit the Big Island last December, guaranteeing a White Christmas there for 2022 just 4 months ago.