Hawaii’s Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area in Maui County was blanketed in snow during a winter storm.
This has turned into a memorable week for snow lovers in Hawaii.
Days after a weekend storm dumped rare snow on Maui, another wintry system is forecast Wednesday and Thursday for the tropical island chain.
Mind you, there’s only snow forecast for three of Hawaii’s tallest mountain peaks: Haleakala on Maui and Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island. Winter storm warnings have been posted for the areas.
For example in Honolulu, the forecast for the next few days may not be perfect, but it’s still tropical: High temperatures in the 70s with a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms each day, according to the National Weather Service.
On the peaks of the Big Island mountains, 3 to 5 inches of snow is forecast to fall there over the next three days, along with about 1/4 inch of ice.
“Avoid traveling to the summits during this period as icy roads and low visibilities will produce treacherous driving conditions,” the weather service said.
Snow on Haleakala on Maui is rare but not unheard of, as it happens about every five years. What was unusual last weekend was that snow fell at such a low elevation: officials say the coating at 6,200 feet at a state park on Maui could be the lowest-elevation snowfall ever recorded in the state.
Precipitation that falls as rain in coastal and valleys areas often falls as snow in the mountains.
Snow on Hawaii’s mountain 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.
Last weekend’s storm didn’t only bring snow, it also slammed the state with wind gusts measured as high as 191 mph and 60-foot waves.
On Maui, people hoping to see more snow over the couple of days will have to view it from a distance. The summit area of Haleakala National Park is closed because of “extreme winter conditions.”
Park officials said Tuesday that snow, ice, fallen trees and rocks are making the area dangerous. Superintendent Natalie Gates encourages people to see the snow-capped mountain from afar.
Snowfall lower down at a Maui park caused a traffic jam over the weekend from people wanting to catch a glimpse of unusual Hawaii weather.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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