Category Archives: Weather

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 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.

Hawaii’s HAM radio operators work through tsunami

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says all coastal areas in Hawaii are vulnerable and urging people to stay away from beaches. Phone and cell lines are clogged, and HAM radio operators throughout the state are stepping in using nearly century-old technology to ensure emergency communications get through, according to Diane Bryant, and HAM radio operator on Maui, who suggests that what’s newer isn’t always better.

Bryant elaborates, “Many phone calls can not be returned, sorry, lines are sporatic at best due to high traffic and messages are garbled.

As many of you know I am an emergency HAM radio operator and I will be very busy today with the Emergency Operating Centers (EOCs).

I heard no siren this morning, either slept through it at 6 am or it is not audible at my location. I have been asked by the Oahu EOC to see if I can hear the 10 am siren. It’s 10:10 and I heard nothing. Not good.

My landlord Lyn owns Kihei Rent a Car and is staying on low ground till the last minute renting cars to people who need to get out of Kihei.”

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