By Andrea Romano
February 13, 2019
This Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, photo shows snow on the ground in Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area in Kula, Hawaii on the island of Maui. A strong storm that hit Hawaii knocked out power, brought down tree branches, flooded coastal roads — and even brought snow. Snow is not unheard of in mountainous parts of the tropical island chain, but officials say the coating at 6,200 feet (1,900 meters) at a state park on Maui could mark the lowest-elevation snowfall ever recorded in the state.
Lance Endo via AP

Between volcanic eruptions and hurricanes, it’s clear that Hawaii is no stranger to rare and sometimes dangerous weather. But the winter storm that hit the islands on Sunday and Monday also left something that most Hawaiians have very little experience with: snow.

According to CNN, high wind and rain caused some damage to parts of the Hawaiian islands in the early morning on Feb. 11, while also bringing some rare snowfall to Polipoli State Park in Maui as well as some other parts of the island.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) said in a statement that Monday was perhaps the first time snow has ever fallen in a Hawaii state park.

“It could be the lowest elevant snow ever recorded in the state. Polipoli is at 6,200 feet elevation,” the DLNR statement said. Snow does actually fall in Hawaii, but it is mainly limited to the highest elevations, particularly the peaks Mauna Kea at 14,000 feet, according to SF Gate.

According to the Associated Press, the National Weather Service (NWS) reported winds between 40 and 70 miles per hour as well as coastal flooding.  

The dangerous winds that began on Sunday have reportedly toppled over centuries-old trees, reported Hawaii News Now. Some trees have damaged utility poles in some parts of the state, leaving many without power. Luckily, there have been no reported injuries.

Hawaii Electric Light tweeted that crews were working on Monday to restore power as soon as it was safe to do so. On Tuesday, the company was well into working on replacing downed poles, which also required shutting down some roadways.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell told CNN that beaches, parks, certain roads near Hawaii’s summits, and the Honolulu Zoo have all been closed.

It’s unclear how long the snow will stick at Polipoli State Park, but until it does, people who were in the area are sharing photos and video of the rare event.

Even more snow is expected for the islands on Wednesday and Thursday, USA Today reported, but only on its highest peaks, including Maui's Haleakala and the Big Island's Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa — where 3 to 5 inches are expected.

"Avoid traveling to the summits during this period as icy roads and low visibilities will produce treacherous driving conditions," the NWS warned.

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