Weather

Winter in Paradise

February 8, 2020, 10:10 AM HST
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In Waimea Friday morning, Tina Yohon captures snow on Maunakea.

Big Island residents are feeling the chill in the air as temperatures have dropped and the summits are blanketed in snow.

“It’s winter,” said Jeff Powell, senior meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

On Friday night, Kona saw a low of 62 degrees and Hilo 58 degrees. Today, Powell said he wasn’t surprised by the dip in temperatures, however they were a little below normal.

“It happens when you get these shots of cold air,” Powell explained. “With this time of year comes drier, cooler temperatures.”

The senior meteorologist added a front passed through the islands a couple days ago and the Big Island was the last to be affected.

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“We’re definitely going to get another shot of cold temperatures Sunday night into Tuesday,” Powell said.

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On top of the winter temperatures, a high wind warning remains in effect for Big Island summits until 11 a.m. on Sunday. Southwest to west winds of 40-70 mph are expected above 8,000 feet on Mauna Loa and Maunakea, with gusts up to 90 mph.

“Winds this strong will make travel to the summits extremely dangerous,” according to NWS. “Take necessary precautions to protect property. Avoid unnecessary travel to the summits until winds diminish.”

NWS also put out a special weather statement indicating “very windy conditions” possible Sunday night into Monday.

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The statement indicates winds are expected to increase late in the day Sunday into Sunday night as a surface low develops to the northeast of the islands. Depending on the exact track and strength of this low, very windy conditions are possible in some lowland areas Sunday night and Monday, along with a chance of localized wind damage.

A small craft advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. Sunday and a gale watch is in effect from Sunday evening through Monday afternoon.

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