Hawaii may be known for its picturesque beaches, but a weekend storm left parts of the Aloha State looking like a scene closer to the Arctic Circle.
Snow blanketed parts of Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area on the island of Maui on Sunday, which is likely a first for any state park.
“Polipoli State Park, at 6,200 feet they reported snow. that is pretty rare for Maui obviously,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Melissa Dye told KHON2. “I had talked to a ranger this morning and he said they had 4-foot drifts. Very impactful.”
While the peaks of the Haleakalā on Maui have been known to get a dusting of snow in the past, the storm over the weekend brought what is possibly the lowest elevation snow ever recorded in the state.
“At 6,200 feet, this may be the lowest elevation at which snow has been recorded in Hawai’i,” the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources said in an Instagram post.
Lance Endo told the Associated Press his friend who was camping at the state park on Maui texted him early Sunday that there was snow, so he jumped in his truck and drove more than hour to see it.
“I just wanted to go play in the snow,” Endo said.
Endo headed back down from the park on to bring his two children up to the park so they could “see something that’s very unusual in Hawaii.”
The snow came from a storm system known as a Kona Low, which is a chunk of cold, low-pressure air separated from the cold jet stream.
The storms usually approach Hawaii from the west or south and usually bring strong winds, flooding, and high surf. Because the weekend system came from the north and was so cold and strong, parts of Maui saw snow this time.
“Kona lows are typical for this time of year,” Dye told KHON2. “It’s a winter storm system. We might 2 or 3 a year.”