Hawaii Snowstorm in 2008 Among Worst Ever

Cold, wet weather has dumped over three inches of snow at the summit of Maui’s tallest peak, Haleakala, over the past few days. The Big Island summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa have also been whited out. All of the roads to the summits have been closed since Tuesday.

However, on Maui the National Park Service briefly opened the road to Haleakala Wednesday morning urging drivers to use extreme caution. They are likely to close the road again by Wednesday evening as the melting snow freezes causing dangerously icy conditions. Conditions are forecast to clear and the road opened by Thursday.

Pretty Chilly Down Below, Too
For locals like me that live near sea level in houses without heat (or even windows in my case) this means that chilly temperatures and heavy rain will continue. It’s time to break out the extra blankets and socks and hope they’re not moldy. People on water catchment and county water users alike will rejoice at the welcome break in otherwise drought conditions.

Visitors to any of the summits, whether on Maui or the Big Island, have been advised by the National Park Service, to call ahead to see if the road is open before heading up. The Park Service is strongly encouraging visitors curious about Hawaiian snow to use the same common sense that would apply on the Mainland: dress appropriately, drive carefully and be prepared to turn around.

Visitors to the summit are also asked not to take any snow with them. It’s likely to contain rare plant seeds, such as that of the endangered Silversword, and insects found only at high altitudes in Hawaii.

More details, including animated maps, about the weather on Haleakala, Maui, the Big Island or Hawaii in general can be found at the Haleakala Weather Center.