Aggressive Winds, Snow, and Power Cuts as Storms and Floods Hit Hawaii

Some areas of Hawaii saw electricity cuts, strong wind—even snow—recently, as a severe storm hit. 

Winds of up to almost 200 miles per hour brought branches and trees crashing across motorways and infrastructure, cutting off people from power in unusually strong conditions. 

Honolulu’s Emergency Management Director, Mr. Toiya, urged residents to take extra care when taking to the roads. 

“Conditions are windy and we do have trees and utility poles and other objects falling onto the street,” Toiya said to CNN. 

Snow has fallen across Hawaii before, however, and frequently covers its tallest mountains. 

Nonetheless, Maui’s Polipoli Spring State park received some snowfall, something that’s probably never before been seen in any of the state’s recreation areas, meteorologists reported.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources shared a Facebook post: “[P]erhaps [for] the first time ever, snow has fallen in a Hawaii State Park….Polipoli State Park on Maui is blanketed with snow. It could also be the lowest elevation snow ever recorded in the state.”

Elsewhere, in Mauna Kea Summit, waves of up to sixty feet were observed alongside gusts of wind reaching over 190 miles an hour, according to CBS.

It was not unfelt in Kaui’s Polipoli State Park, the Land and Natural Resources Department noted, and they said “several trees had fallen” at Kauai’s Kokee-Waimea Canyon Park. Fortunately, no injuries were reported. 

“(Forecasters) are calling this an unprecedented event and we concur that we rarely if ever have seen the combination of record high on-shore waves, coupled with gale force winds,” the Land and Natural Resources Department administrator stated.

Weather reporters in Honolulu were surprised by the incredibly high wind speeds, according to the Straits Times. One senior reported, Jon Jelsema, commented: “That’s the strongest wind gust I’ve ever seen up there.”

Describing how unusual it was, he noted: “We tend to get a gust maybe to 150 mph once a winter or so, but never 191 mph.”

There were also announcements of snow having caused Haleakala National Park to shut down, as it was unsafe to pass the summit. 

In an interview with the Star-Advertiser, a Weather Service forecaster commented: “Winter’s not over yet.”

“But the immediate threat from this strong, low pressure system is about over. We may still get some surf on the north shores of Big Island and Maui … but for the most part, winds, snowfall and surf are down from their peak yesterday.”


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Honolulu’s Kapiolani Park also suffered from the severe gusts, which brought reportedly 100-year-old kiawe trees crashing down, KNHL local news reported.  

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