Dec 3, 2021 - Science

Blizzard warning issued in Hawaii

Snow on Mauna Kea in 1999

Snow on Mauna Kea in 1999. Photo: Joe McNally/Getty Images

The National Weather Service issued a rare blizzard warning for the Big Island Summits in Hawaii on Friday.

Driving the news: There are no other winter storm warnings or blizzard warnings in the continental U.S at the moment.

Our thought bubble: Snow is common at the highest elevations of the Big Island, and the Weather Service issues winter storm and blizzard warnings for higher elevations due to the presence of scientists who work there studying space, the atmosphere and other fields, per Axios' Andrew Freedman.

  • But such warnings are rare, however, and indicate the presence of a significant storm that is likely ruining the vacation plans of many travelers at sea level, where heavy rain is likely,

The warning will begin at 6 P.M. Hawaii Standard Time (HST) and continue to 6 A.M.

  • There is an expected 12 inches or more of snow with winds over 100 mph.
  • The warning is for the Big Island Summits, which include Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.

The big picture: Snow falls at Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea whenever there is a cold front or heavy rains due to the high elevation of both summits, per the Weather Channel.

What they're saying: "Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Blowing snow will significantly reduce visibility at times, with periods of zero visibility," the warning reads.

Go deeper