Blizzard warning issued in Hawaii


FILE: The snow-covered Mauna Kea mountain is seen in this photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009 near Hilo, Hawaii. Mauna Kea translates to “white mountain” in the Hawaiian language. (AP Photo/Tim Wright)

DENVER (KDVR) — A blizzard warning was issued in Hawaii on Friday that will start in the evening and last until Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

The NWS said up to 12 inches of snow or more is possible with winds gusting over 100 mph on the Big Island Summits.

Is it normal to see snow in Hawaii?

“Yes, although only on top of the highest peaks on Maui and the Big Island. Every winter, storm systems bring frequent snow storms to elevations generally above 11,000 feet. This means that only Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are impacted. Many times these snowstorms are accompanied by strong winds, resulting in significant drifting of snow and blizzard conditions,” the National Weather Service said.

As of Friday morning, Hawaii and Alaska were the only two states in the U.S. to have blizzard warnings.

In Alaska, where snow is common, there are currently several blizzard warnings in effect. In November, much of the state was colder than normal, with some areas close to record cold levels.

“A strong storm will approach Alaska this weekend that will bring heavy snow, blizzard conditions and bitterly cold temperatures,” said the NWS.

Across the contiguous U.S., snow has been in short supply, including in Utah.

“We need at least about three or four years of really solid snowpack to get us out of this drought,” says Michael Sanchez, a Utah Division of Water Resources spokesperson.

While a historically wet October made a sizable dent in Utah’s water year needs, there is still a long way to go, with a lot riding on this winter’s snowpack and future snowpacks for the next few years.

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