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Blizzard warnings are in effect for Alaska and… Hawaii?

Yes, you read the headline right. As of Friday morning, only two states in the US have blizzard warnings – Alaska and Hawaii.

Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano. Its peak is 4,207.3 m (13,803 ft) above sea level, making it the highest point in the state of Hawaiʻi and second-highest peak of an island on Earth. Source - USGS, Public Domain
Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano. Its peak is 4,207.3 m (13,803 ft) above sea level, making it the highest point in the state of Hawaiʻi and second-highest peak of an island on Earth. Source - USGS, Public Domain

Yes, you read the headline right. As of Friday morning, only two states in the US have blizzard warnings – Alaska and Hawaii. Actually, Hawaii has had more snow this season than Denver, Colorado.

There are a number of blizzard warnings in effect in Alaska, where blowing snow will make driving in some cases nearly impossible, according to CNN News. Snow is common in Alaska, particularly this season. November has been colder than normal, with some areas setting near-record temperature levels.

Hawaii’s forecast is a bit rarer. According to the Iowa mesonet data site, it’s been 1,347 days (over 3.5 years) since the last blizzard warning was issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Honolulu.

Over 12 inches of the white stuff is forecast over the weekend in the Big Island mountains. The warning is in effect for the Big Island summits from 6 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Sunday local time.

It is no surprise that Hawaii gets snow. Keep in mind that the summits of the Big Island’s Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes reach nearly 14,000 feet in elevation.

In addition to blizzard conditions, wind gusts over 100 mph are also expected, according to the alert issued by National Weather Service Honolulu, reports ABC News.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” the alert said. “Blowing snow will significantly reduce visibility at times, with periods of zero visibility. The strong winds will likely cause significant drifting of snow,” the alert said.

And with heavy rainfall at lower elevations being forecast, a flood watch has also been issued for all the Hawaiian islands through Monday afternoon.

“Flash flooding caused by excessive rainfall continues to be possible,” the alert said. “Landslides may also occur in areas with steep terrain,” it warned.

Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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