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In Hawaii, Dangerous Snow and Ice Shuts Down Popular Tourist Area

Feb. 15, 2019
2 min read
Haleakala National Park Maui - crater hawaii view
In Hawaii, Dangerous Snow and Ice Shuts Down Popular Tourist Area
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The words "snow" and Hawaii" aren't typically found in the same sentence, though it's also not completely unheard of in areas of high elevation. But what's happening right now in one of America's most stunning national parks is still an extremely rare sight.

And for travelers headed to Hawaii right now, the extreme weather is having an impact on some very popular tourist destinations.

A few days after snow drifted across Polipoli State Park in Maui for perhaps the first time in history, the island's national park — Haleakalā — was pummeled with snow and ice.

It's so severe that the National Park Service has closed the summit area entirely, stating: "Snow and ice on the road, as well as fallen trees and rocks, are leading to extremely hazardous conditions. There are numerous power outages throughout the Summit District." The park will remain closed through at least Friday, Feb. 15, thanks to "continued cold temperatures and precipitation for the summit."

Mind you, this is on a tropical island where, just 40 miles away, (and 10,000 feet closer to sea level), throngs of tourists are coating themselves with sunscreen and enjoying 70-degree days on the beach.

I visited and hiked in Haleakalā National Park with my family just four months ago, and while there was definitely a chill at the summit, it's shocking to see the otherworldly landscape now more closely resemble Colorado than Mars.

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Travelers should be aware that, in addition to Haleakalā's summit closure, wintry weather will continue to sweep across the state of Hawaii. At the summit of Mauna Loa on the Big Island, for example, snow and sleet are expected to accumulate through Saturday afternoon and again early next week.

Surfboards can be used as snowboards in a pinch, right?

Featured image by Maui's Haleakala National Park is calling (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)