WeatherTalk: Hawaii is hit by a somewhat rare blizzard

It is possible to go to Hawaii and participate in both water skiing and snow skiing on the same day.

Weather Talk.jpg
We are part of The Trust Project.

The summit areas of Hawaii's Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, volcanos on Hawaii's Big Island, both topping 13,000 feet above sea level, are often snow covered during winter. In fact, it is possible to go to Hawaii and participate in both water skiing and snow skiing on the same day. Despite the regularity of high-altitude snow on these mountain peaks, weather that we would refer to as a blizzard is relatively rare.

However, this past Friday and Saturday, the same jet stream winds that brought snow to North Dakota and northern Minnesota was also over Hawaii, delivering heavy snow to the tops of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. The tall mountains actually protruded into the very strong upper level wind pattern, resulting in 100 mph winds at the mountain summits. Such fierce wind, along with heavy snow, resulted in Hawaii's first Blizzard Warning since 2018.

John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
What to read next
WDAY's Storm Tracker meteorologists are watching the storm; check back for updates.
This has to do with the speed at which snowflakes fall.
A ground white with snow is really a ground that is reflecting most of the white sunlight that shines on it.
StormTRACKER Meteorologist John Wheeler looks at the snowy and cold December weather pattern.