It’s not every day an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean gets a blanket of snow. But that’s what this weekend’s storm gave us – snow at Polipoli State Park in upcountry Maui.
“Polipoli State park, at 6200 feet they reported snow. that is pretty rare for Maui obviously. I had talked to a ranger this morning and he said they had 4 foot drifts. Very impactful,” said meterologist Melissa Dye at the National Weather Service.
While the peaks of Haleakala have been known to see a dusting of snow, we’re told there hasn’t been a snowfall like this one since 1952. Haleakala saw snowfall recorded at around 7,500 feet.
The latest phenomenon is all thanks to a what’s called a kona low.
“This system was so cold and strong, those lower temperatures helped any precept falling to fall as snow,” explained Dye.
Kona low storms usually approach Hawaii from the west or south. Typical impacts include strong winds, flooding, and high surf.
“Kona lows are typical for this time of year. It’s a winter storm system. We might 2 or 3 a year,” said Dye.
This past weekend’s storm was the first kona low of the season. What made it unusual was that it came from the north – bringing cold air with it.