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Hawaiʻi May See Snow, Downpours & Flash Flooding This Week

Hawaiʻi residents may face snow, flash flooding and landslides as a plume of deep tropical moisture is expected to surge northward to Hawaiʻi this week that will provide the fuel for heavier and more frequent downpours for some of the islands.

Hawaiʻi residents and vacationers will need to be on alert.

“The first round of heavy rainfall is expected on Monday and Tuesday, with torrential downpours focusing on the Big Island and Maui,” AccuWeather meteorologist Faith Eherts said.

Stronger-than-normal northeasterly trade winds will blow across the islands and up the windward slopes, and by combining with the deep tropical moisture will lead to very heavy rainfall.

“Rainfall rates of up to 2 inches per hour can result in dangerous flash flooding as well as landslides, which could topple trees and power lines and block or wash out roads,” Eherts warned.

Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches are expected for Hilo and other windward coastal areas into the midweek, with higher amounts farther inland across the Big Island and Maui.

It will be cold enough across the summits of Maunakea and Mauna Loa for heavy snowfall during this time. A few inches are expected with localized amounts of up to a foot possible. Hikers will need to be vigilant and keep a close eye on weather conditions.

While rainfall amounts will be less on the leeward side of the islands, moisture may wrap around at times and lead to heavier showers.

Moloka‘i, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi will miss out on the heaviest rain, but a slight uptick in moisture will still bring more numerous and enhanced trade showers over the next few days.

Northeastward-facing coasts will face elevated surf this week thanks to the strong trade winds. Occasional wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph will also occur.

The first part of the week will be very wet across some of the Hawaiian Islands, but the second half of the week and into the weekend could be just as wet, if not wetter.

Deep tropical moisture will remain strung out over Hawaiʻi and there are indications that an area of low pressure could develop in the area by Friday. If this were to occur, there could be widespread enhanced showers for some or even all of the islands.

“Another round of heavy rain would exacerbate any existing flooding or bring new flooding problems to the other islands,” Eherts said.

High Winds and Heavy Snow in Hawaii – Mauna Loa Summit Closed

Due to high winds and heavy snow, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park closed the summit of Mauna Loa on Thursday to all day use and overnight camping until it is safe to reopen.

NPS Photo

NPS Photo

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the summit of Mauna Loa in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park early Thursday morning. Heavy rain, high winds, and a foot of snow were expected, and by afternoon, a thick blanket of snow was visible as low as 10,000 feet. Visitors at the park’s Jaggar Museum were treated periodically with views of snow-capped Mauna Loa, a novelty for many who don’t expect snow in Hawai‘i.

The summit closure is in effect above the Red Hill (Pu‘u‘ula‘ula) Cabin. Hikers can still obtain a backcountry permit to hike to and stay at Red Hill Cabin, but backcountry permits to areas above 10,000 feet are suspended and day hiking is prohibited. Hikers going to Red Hill will be advised to proceed with caution and carry appropriate gear.

In January 2014, park rangers and a helicopter pilot rescued a backcountry hiker stranded on Mauna Loa in an unexpected blizzard.

Hiker Caught in Hawaii Snowstorm is Rescued from Mauna Loa

Park rangers rescued a lone hiker Thursday morning who was  stranded on Mauna Loa after a winter snowstorm pummeled  the summit and lower elevations with heavy snow and high winds.

Search-and-rescue pilot David Okita shows snow-covered Mauna Loa and the cindercone Pohaku o Hanalei in foreground, near where Sverdlov was spotted. Snow-covered Mauna Kea is seen in the distance.

Search-and-rescue pilot David Okita shows snow-covered Mauna Loa and the cindercone Pohaku o Hanalei in foreground, near where Sverdlov was spotted. Snow-covered Mauna Kea is seen in the distance.

Last Sunday, New York resident Alex Sverdlov, 36, began the grueling 18-mile trek from the top of Mauna Loa Road at 6,662 feet towards the summit of Mauna Loa. He reached the 13,677-foot summit on Tuesday, after dropping off his heavy gear at a lower elevation.  The snowstorm struck on his late-afternoon descent, creating a blinding white-out. Night fell, and after a few futile attempts to locate his pack, Sverdlov decided to hunker down in the snow until daylight. His only protection was the clothes he had on, and a bottle of frozen water.

Earlier Tuesday, park management closed the mountain to visitors because of the dangerous weather. Sverdlov was the only registered hiker, and park rangers tried unsuccessfully to call his cell phone. They drove up Mauna Loa Road, and confirmed his car was there. When Sverdlov’s car was still there Wednesday afternoon, Park Ranger John Broward decided to search for him by helicopter Thursday morning. Sverdlov was located by 9 a.m.

Rescued hiker Alex Sverdlov (middle) stands with his rescuers, park ranger John Broward (right) and park ranger Tyler Paul (left) outside the park's Visitor Emergency Operations Center on Thursday.  NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Rescued hiker Alex Sverdlov (middle) stands with his rescuers, park ranger John Broward (right) and park ranger Tyler Paul (left) outside the park’s Visitor Emergency Operations Center on Thursday. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

“I’ve done many crazy hikes, but this one pretty much tops the bill,” said Sverdlov, an experienced hiker who successfully summited Mauna Loa last winter. After locating his pack Wednesday morning, the deep snow made it impossible to gain much ground, and he spent a second frozen night on the mountain. Sverdlov worried that he’d die on Mauna Loa, and was astonished when he heard the helicopter.

“Even the most experienced and prepared hikers can get into trouble in the park,” said Broward, who serves as the park’s search-and-rescue coordinator. “What saved Alex is that he had a backcountry permit so we knew he was up there, he is extremely fit, and he stayed calm. We’re all fortunate this had a happy ending.”

On Thursday afternoon, his face sun-burned and wind-whipped, Sverdlov applied for another backcountry permit, for the park’s remote coastal area. “This time I’m going to the sunny part of the park,” he said.

Snow in Hawaii in JUNE!

We have snow in Hawaii in June! I’m not sure if this has ever happened before, but this just seems crazy to me!

Andrew Cooper first mentioned it on Facebook and now the Mauna Kea Web Cams show the snow!

Current pictures of Mauna Kea's Web Cam's. Click for current views

Invisible Cows and Snow in Hawaii… I’m Not Losing it Folks!

So this weekend my wife and I took my son and his cousin across the island to the Hilton Waikoloa Resort, but on the way there, we decided to surprise the two boys with a side trip up Mauna Kea to go play in the snow on top of Mauna Kea!

We headed up saddle road around 10:00 in the morning and stopped off at the Mauna Kea Visitors Information Center to acclimate our bodies before climbing higher up in the altitude.

A view from a window inside the visitors information center

We stayed at the visitors center for about 20 minutes where the kids got a chance to view the actual “sun” through a filtered telescope that allows folks to look directly at the sun.

Looking at the sun

Before we headed up the hill… we were warned to watch out for the “Invisible Cows” that can sometimes cross the road.

Invisible Cows

So at this point… I switched my camera over to video… just in case I happened to see an invisible cow… I wanted to make sure I caught it on tape!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htkVSKc7sMg]

We pulled over here at the end of this video clip and I was able to catch the following pictures of the two boys having a great time in the snow.

Snow in Hawaii

Well it was cold up there… so as excited as they initially were… they got cold real quick.

Ok... it's colder then we thought it would be!

I can’t believe my wife actually got down on the ground to take a picture as it was freezing up there!

My wife's got the good camera!

We had our time on the mountain and this was the first time that my son can actually say he saw snow… and remembered it, as I’m sure he doesn’t remember the Colorado trip when he was only two years old.

We can't pack snow in the JEEP!

I just wish that instead of our Jeep… we would have had  a truck so that we could have loaded up some snow and brought it down to the resort with us.

How Local Folks Get Snow in Their Yards in Hawaii

While we only spent about an hour on the mountain all together… it was a great time bringing the kids up their and teaching them about different climates.