Over a foot of snow and near-zero degree temperatures are affecting parts of the United States in a significant way, but probably not where you’d think.
Hawaii – yes, that Hawaii (as if there’s another) – saw two-foot snow drifts at the top of the state’s highest peak, Mauna Kea, and the lone road to the visitor’s center there is closed as a result of an unusual amount of snow and ice atop the volcanic peaks of the “Big Island” (technically, the Big Island is Hawaii).
Temperatures are so cold, in fact, that according to Hawaii News Now, the anemometer (which measures winds) atop Mauna Kea is frozen due to the extreme cold and not giving accurate readings. Temperatures have dipped as low as the single digits, with wind chills well below zero.
The road to the summit of Mauna Kea (elevation: 13,796 feet) is closed, meaning visitors to its summit can’t drive above 9,200 feet. According to the Western Regional Climate Center, Mauna Loa (elevation: 13,678 feet) averages 3.7″ of snow per year.
The forecast brings yet more snow to our 50th state, with another 6-7″ of snow likely between now and Thursday. The National Weather Service in Honolulu has a Winter Storm Watch in place for locations at or above 11,500 feet on the Big Island. High Wind Warnings are also in place for the interior portions of the Big Island, where winds gusts could reach hurricane force through Thursday. Meteorologist Chris Bianchi
Images courtesy of the Mauna Kea Weather Center