On Monday night, freezing conditions mixed with heavy precipitation resulted in the unlikely: Snow in Maui. Dangerous driving conditions caused officials to close the road up to Haleakala on Tuesday. Another one to three more inches is expected to fall in the next few days.
(Haleakala Snow. Photo courtesy of Adam Burgasser)
Another recent picture of the snow on the summit of Haleakala was posted by Aubrey Hord .
Haleakala is Maui’s towering volcanic crater, the summit of which reaches over 10,000-feet above sea level. Even in summer the summit has normally harsh conditions–extremely dry air, gusty winds and freezing temperatures. The right mix of heavy precipitation brought by a low pressure winter storm and chilly air result in layers of the white stuff that reach down to about the 7,000-foot level.
How Often Does It Snow in Maui?
Snow is not common in Maui although it has happened before–perhaps as often as once every few years. The last time I saw snow on Haleakala was January 2006 during one of the wettest winters on record in the islands. It blanketed the highest cinder cones for about three days.
All of this is hard to imagine possible while sitting on a sunny beach in Kihei, Wailea, Kaanapali, Lahaina or Paia where daytime temperatures are usually in the balmy 80’s and a gentle tradewind breeze keeps the humidity in check. For the next few days at least, it will be possible to gaze up at the snow-capped summit from the comfort of warmth down below.
The road to the summit should reopen when the conditions improve. Before heading up to the summit, call the Haleakala National Park headquarters to check on the status of the road at (808) 572-4400 between the hours of 8 AM and 4 PM HST Monday through Friday or visit them online at Haleakala National Park.
Snow also fell on Hawaii’s two tallest mountains, Mauna Kea and Maun Loa, on the Big Island. Additional details about the snowy conditions are available a:
Honolulu Star Bulletin