Category Archives: News

Hawaii Snow Sets Record, Falling at 6,200 Feet

Does it ever snow in Hawaii? Yes and often, but only atop the tallest volcanic mountains. Snow in February 2019 set a record, not for the amount of snow. Instead, the record was for snow at the lowest elevation.

Heavy winter storms in the Pacific often dump snow in Hawaii, specifically, atop the summits of Haleakala (about 10,000 feet) and Mauna Kea (about 14,000 feet). However, Hawaii does not have any ski resorts. Likewise, snow does not fall at the beach.

Meanwhile, residents tracking Hawaii snow have posted many photos and videos on social media. Maui resident, Momi Fortune of Haiku, pulled over to photograph the white peak of Haleakala summit. She snapped the photo attached to this post on February 11, 2019.

Historic Snowfall on Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii. Photo Credit: Momi Fortune

Historic Snowfall

Likewise, Lisa Walsh, a resident of Kula described the February 2019 storm, “This is the most snow I’ve ever seen on Haleakala summit in the 30 years that I’ve lived on Maui. There is snow down below Polipoli State Park [elevation 6,200 feet], which never happens.”

Furthermore, some experts at say that this may be the first snow in Hawaii ever recorded below 6,200 feet in the lower parts of Polipoli state park. reported a similar story about the lowest-ever elevation recorded.

In contrast, snow is more common atop the volcanic mountain summits, where the elevation is much higher. Haleakala summit on Maui and Mauna Kea summit on Hawaii island typically received 3-6 dustings of snow each winter.

Playing in the Snow

Another effect of Hawaii snow is that it attracts people to the volcanic summits to play. Popular snow activities in Hawaii include: Snowboarding, skiing, sledding, and hiking. However, many Hawaii residents lack experience with snow and could get injured or damage precious habitat. For example, people who drive to the summit without a 4WD vehicle are likely to get stuck in the muck.

Further, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported on February 7, 2019, an incident on Mauna Kea where snowboarders didn’t get hurt. Instead, they damaged a cultural site and endangered habitat.

Finally, learn more about snow in Hawaii from an article entitled “Poli’ahu’s Gift” that I wrote for Hana Hou!. You can also read more about previous reporting on snow storms in Hawaii at the links below:

Hawaii skies offer clear view of transit of Venus

This is a rare window to see firsthand that other planets are real: Venus will appear as a black dot crawling across the sun’s disk in the afternoon sky on June 5, 2012. Venus has been seen crossing the sun only six times before in history, prompting Captain Cook’s voyage to Tahiti in 1761 and allowing astronomers to measure accurately the size of the universe. It won’t be seen again for another 105 years.

“Venus has a carbon-dioxide rich atmosphere with complex circulation patterns that could help us better understand rising CO2 levels on earth,” explains astronomer Jay Pasachoff of Williams College, who will give a free public talk after the transit in Kamuela about his research on Venus as a part of the Keck astronomy lecture series.

Hawaii launches Aloha for Japan program

Some of the Twitterati mislead their followers with dire warnings about the impact of the March 11, 2011 tsunami in Hawaii. I received several panicked emails from friends and relatives on the Mainland. We are fine, apart from cleaning up mud and debris that coated most of the beaches and beach parks prompting statewide closures for a couple of days.

It’s the Japanese who suffered and are still suffering tragedy. The Hawaii state government has launched a program to help the Japanese called “Aloha for Japan.” Lt. Governor Brian Schatz heads the committee, which is directing donations to sister communities in need. You can help by donating money or specified items. Most banks, including American Savings and Bank of Hawaii, are serving as collection points. You can also mail a donation directly to:

Aloha for Japan

2454 South Beretania Street, Suite 201

Honolulu, HI 96826.