The National Weather Service (NWS) office in Honolulu, Hawaii has upgraded Winter Storm Watches to Winter Storm Warnings for portions of Hawaii’s Big Island, where 1-2 feet or more of snow could fall. A slow moving cold front will bring the possibility for heavy showers and thunderstorms to parts of the Hawaii Monday night through Wednesday. With ample cold air to tap into on Hawaii’s highest elevations, precipitation will fall as snow there.
The Winter Storm Warning is up for the Big Island summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa above 12,000 feet. The heavy snow in the Winter Storm Warning area could be accompanied by strong wind gusts, blowing snow, low visbilities, and cloud to ground lightning. The NWS warns, “The heavy snow will be accompanied by strong gusty winds at times, resulting in considerable blowing and drifting snow and significant reductions to visibility. Travel will become extremely hazardous if not impossible.” The Winter Storm Warning is up from 6pm today through 6am Thursday.
The National Weather Service issues Winter Storm Warnings for snow when severe winter weather conditions are expected. Strong winds are also possible. This will make travel very hazardous or impossible. In the case of this Warning, the NWS warns that anyone planning travel to the summits, including hikers and campers, should monitor the latest forecasts and consider postponing their trip until better weather returns.
Despite it’s tropical location, snow is a common occurrence on Hawaii’s highest volcanic slopes. Snow fell just over 2 weeks ago with the start of meteorological winter. Snow also fell in May.