Hawaii: Blizzard warning on Big Island

Published on : Saturday, December 4, 2021

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning until Sunday morning on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The warning remains in effect from 6 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Sunday as up to 12 inches or more of snow is expected on the island. NWS also warns residents to stay indoors as forecasters predict winds gusting over 100 mph.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Blowing snow will significantly reduce visibility at times, with periods of zero visibility,” NWS’s weather warning reads.

Aside from the blizzard warning, a Kona low is expected near the islands starting on Saturday night. Kona storms are a type of seasonal cyclone in the Hawaiian Islands, usually formed in the winter from winds coming from the westerly “Kona” direction, according to N. Kona lows often bring about wet and “unsettled” weather.

However, as rare as snowfall seems in Hawaii, in certain mountainous regions it occurs every year.

Last January, snow blanketed a small part of Hawaii’s Big Island, which is Hawaii’s largest main island. Since the summits of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes both rise over 13,000 feet in elevation, when cold fronts and heavy rains form, snow falls, according to the Weather Channel.

The official coldest temperature witnessed in Hawaii is 12 degrees, which was recorded at the Mauna Kea Observatory on May 17, 1979, according to the Weather Channel.

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