SNOWY RIDE IN HAWAII
COURTESY OF KITV NEWS4
A snowboarder enjoyed riding down snow at the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island last weekend. One of the mountain's observatory telescopes is seen in the distance in this image from video taken by KITV.
Mauna Kea dishes out a bit of winter
HILO » Big Islanders awoke to clear views of a white-crested Mauna Kea yesterday after last week's storms dumped about a foot of snow on Hawaii's tallest peak.
Hilo residents could see the white cap that gave the dormant volcano its name for most of the morning until clouds gathered. Mauna Kea means "white mountain" in Hawaiian.
For most Big Island and Maui residents, snow atop the high volcanoes remains little more than a backdrop for mostly sunny days, mild temperatures and gentle breezes.
"Once or twice a year, we'll have one of those week-long cloudy weeks. And when they get those, they have the potential for a foot," said Nezette Rydell, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Honolulu office.
"It's a pretty nice winter storm," he said.
COURTESY UH INSTITUTE FOR ASTRONOMY
Storms dumped about a foot of snow on top of Mauna Kea last week and forced the suspension of work at some of the summit's powerful telescopes.
Snow revelers wasted little time enjoying the powder. KITV footage showed a snowboarder weaving down Mauna Kea's slopes and a pet dog romping in the snowpack.
A cold pocket of air in the upper atmosphere over Hawaii triggered the snowfall, which lasted for seven nights starting Jan. 20. The precipitation ended by the weekend, but residents in lower elevations were able to catch a glimpse of the white peak when the cloud cover cleared yesterday.
It had already snowed on Mauna Kea this winter, but only enough for scattered patches to be visible from Hilo.
Elsewhere around the state, the storms brought heavy rains. The National Weather Service issued several flash flood warnings for the Big Island, while rain drenched Kihei.
Ryan Lyman, a forecast meteorologist at the Mauna Kea Weather Center, said astronomers suspended some of their work at the summit's powerful telescopes while they could not see the stars.
Otherwise, the snow inconvenienced few people, he said.