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

Feb 15, 2019

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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.

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.

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❄️ADDITIONAL 6 INCHES OF SNOW FORECASTED FOR HAWAII ❄️ • • The National Weather Service has continued the Winter Weather Warning for Haleakalā with the potential for up to an additional 6 inches in the forecast through Thursday, February 14. • • Park officials say rangers are enforcing the park closure at the Summit District entrance (6500 ft elevation) to protect visitor safety. • • Haleakalā National Park remains closed due to snow and ice and is expected to remain closed – sunrise included – through Friday, February 15. Residents and visitors are asked not to drive up to the summit. • • The winter storm warning is in effect through Thursday afternoon above the 8,000 foot level. Freezing rain and snow is expected to continue, while snow and ice will cover roadways at the summit until temperatures increase. • • This is the fourth consecutive day of snow on Maui’s highest peak. Video is from Richard Harris taken on 2/13/19. Park info via Wendy Osher / #maui #mauisnow #mauinow #haleakala #haleakalasnow @mauinownews • • For the BIG ISLAND summits of #MaunaKea & #MaunaLoa up to an additional 6” of snow is forecasted from Thursday night through 6pm Friday. • • Also, FLOOD WATCH for ALL ISLANDS. FLOOD WARNING extended for Oahu. Check my story for the latest radar. Will go live later this morning with the latest forecast. • • Personally, I’ve never seen this many consecutive days of snow on Haleakalā- I’d bet this might be a record.

A post shared by Meteorologist Malika Dudley (@malikadudley) on

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

Feature image by the author.

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