Three Storms Have Dumped Snow on Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea – Universe Today

The phrases “snow” and “Hawai’i” are usually not typically talked about in the identical paragraph – and even on the identical trip. However snow does fall in Hawai’i nearly yearly, and 2021 has seen a deep chilly entrance drop snow on the summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Large Island not less than thrice previously few weeks – in addition to on Haleakala on Maui. This implies there are presently in snowcaps on Hawai’i’s three tallest mountains.

On this picture from February 6, 2021, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat eight acquired natural-color photos of the Large Island displaying considerable snow on the 2 peaks. Practically yearly, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa  — with elevations at about 13,600 ft/4,200 meters obtain not less than a dusting that lasts a number of days. However this 12 months, the snow has been extra like a winter blanket of snow.

A picture from Feb 6, 2021 from the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat eight exhibits natural-color photos of the Large Island with considerable snow on the 2 peaks. Credit score: NASA Earth Observatory

And as for snowfall in Hawai’i impacting trip plans, properly, it occurred to me.

Ten years in the past throughout a visit to the Large Island, I had a tour lined as much as go to the summit of Mauna Kea to see the foremost telescopes situated there. However whereas I used to be having fun with a sunny day on one of many black sand seashores, I obtained a cellphone name that the tour to the summit needed to be canceled as a result of a snowstorm had dumped near a foot of snow on the peak of Mauna Kea, and the roads wouldn’t be cleared in time for my tour. As you may think, it was a significant disappointment.

However with the Large Island’s number of local weather zones – at least 8 by some counts – there may be all the time quite a lot of issues to do. I needed to accept a helicopter tour the place I noticed the telescopes from a distance.

A view of the snowy summit of Mauna Kea in January 2011, as seen from a helicopter. Picture by Nancy Atkinson.

This 12 months, the street to the summit of Mauna Kea was closed once more final week, and a excessive winds blasted at 45 to 75 miles per hour.

NASA’s Earth Observatory website mentioned that snowfall in Hawai’i is commonly related to a climate phenomenon known as a Kona low. Winds that usually blow out of the northeast shift and blow from the southwest. The winds from the leeward or “Kona” aspect draw moisture from the tropical Pacific, turning it from rain to snow because the air rises up into the excessive elevations.

A closeup view of the summit of Mauna Loa, by way of the Landsat eight satellite tv for pc. Credit score: NASA Earth Observatory.

According to news reports, Hawaiians have discovered their approach up the volcanic mountains with snowboards and boogie boards to reap the benefits of the snow. Others have crammed their pickup truck beds to deliver a few of the white stuff all the way down to mates.

You can see the latest webcam image from the summit of Mauna Kea here.

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