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Thundersnow…in Hawaii?

Snow in Hawaii may seem like a rare occurrence, but how about thundersnow atop the volcanic peaks of the tropical islands?

That’s exactly what took place on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Honolulu. Thundersnow, the combination of thunder with heavy snowfall, is a relatively rare occurrence even in the most favored of locations, such as lake effect snow belts and near rain-snow lines during a potent nor’easter. But here in Hawaii, it’s even rarer – and it’s what also made Sunday’s event so sensational.

According to the NWS office in Honolulu, “continuous” thundersnow took place on the peak of Mauna Kea Sunday as heavy snowfall pounded the 13,803′ top of Hawaii’s tallest mountain. The road to the top of Mauna Kea was closed as of Monday due to the snow, starting at an elevation of 9,200′. Check out this snow-covered webcam from Mauna Loa on Monday afternoon local time:

An upper-level area of low pressure combined with a cold front that moved through late in the week ushered in enough cold air to drop snow levels down to about 9,000 feet. The low also brought a little rain on both Saturday and Sunday to Honolulu.

Some parts of the Big Island reported over 10 inches of rain from this system.

The weather here, however, will return to more of a ‘normal’ pattern, with trade wind showers and typically mild temperatures in the 80s at lower elevations expected to dominate the forecast for the next few days – just as President Barack Obama vacations in the 50th state.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi – Featured Image: File

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