Snow and Ice Atop Haleakala

March 12, 2019

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March 2019 Viewer's ChoicePhotographer: Rob Ratkowski 
Summary Authors: Rob Ratkowski; Jim Foster

Shown above are the Haleakala Observatories in Hawaii (Maui) as observed cloaked in ice and snow on February 12, 2019. Residing atop Haleakala, a 10,025 ft (3,056 m) shield volcano, frozen precipitation is uncommon here even during the coldest months of the year. However, the winter storm on the 9th and 10th of February that blasted Maui was extremely unusual. Over 6 in (15 cm) of snow fell at Haleakala's summit. Strong winds pushed this snow into 5 ft (1.5 m) drifts, closing Haleakala National Park as well as the road to the observatories. Snow accumulated even at the 6,200 ft (1,890 m) level, which is perhaps the lowest elevation in Hawaii to ever see accumulating snow. On the Big Island of Hawaii, a wind gust of 191 mph (307 km/h) was recorded near the top of Mauna Kea (13,803 ft or 4,207 m).