Last updated: 04:17 PM ET, Fri March 06 2015

Hawaii Pelted With Heavy Snow on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa

Destination & Tourism | Donald Wood | March 06, 2015

Hawaii Pelted With Heavy Snow on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa

PHOTO: Yes, that's Hawaii you're looking at. (Via @Stephelbert on Instagram)

When travelers think of Hawaii, they picture a beautiful island destination that is warm all year round, but the brutal winter is also bringing more snow to the tropical paradise.

Over the last several days, winter storm warnings were issued for Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and each was pelted with snow and freezing rain. According to Hawaii News Now, Mauna Kea received more than a foot of snow from the storm.

After local officials shut down the road to the top of Mauna Kea due to treacherous conditions, MauiNow and meteorologist Malika Dudley is reporting that it has finally been reopened. In the Instagram photo below, she comments: 

"Mauna Kea this morning and the road to the summit is OPEN! Send me photos of your Hawaiian snowman! #maunakea #snowonMaunaKea#SnowDays #BigIsland #BigIslandSnow #DoYouWannaBuildaSnowman PS - it's VERY windy. A Wind Advisory is posted and winds are blowing out of the NW at 53 mph at this hour. Temperatures are in the 20's."

When asked about how often snow storms occur on the Hawaiian Islands, assistant professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Hawaii, Ken Rubin, told

“It snows here every year, but only at the very summits of our three tallest volcanoes (Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and Haleakala). The snow level almost never gets below 9,000 feet in Hawaii during the winter, but since these mountains are taller than 13,600 feet, 13,700 feet and 10,000 feet, respectively, they get dusted with snow a few times a year. It rarely stays on the ground for more than a few days though."

While snow is not typically associated with Hawaii, the Mauna Kea Ski Corporation promotes the possibility of skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling on the extinct volcano. Plenty of extra snow on the mountain will certainly help the business.

Traveling to a tropical destination like Hawaii is a dream for many people who are in the midst of dealing with harsh weather, but the idea of snow on the islands is something travelers must be prepared for if arriving during the winter.

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