Does it Snow in Hawaii? (You’ll be shocked in December!)

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Written By Emma Parker

Emma Parker essays on her experiences in the United States and other global experiences, alongside other pursuits related to traveling and teaching in the World.

As a traveler, you’re probably always looking for new adventures. Why not add one of the most exotic locations in the world to your list? Yes, we’re talking about Hawaii! Although it’s often considered a tropical paradise, did you know it snows there too?

Think of Hawaii, and what comes to mind? Beaches, palm trees, and surfboards? Maybe you think of the popular TV show Hawaii Five-O. But what about snow? Does it ever snow in Hawaii? You might be surprised to know that, yes, it does snow in Hawaii.

Does it snow in Hawaii

In this post, we’ll look at what to expect from Hawaii’s snowy winter season. So read on and prepare to be surprised.

Snow in Hawaii

Did you know that it snowed in Hawaii once? It was in the year 2000, on the Big Island. The snow fell on the Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes over 10,000 feet high. Fortunately, there wasn’t enough snow to cause any damage or disruptions. Most importantly, it was an incredibly rare and beautiful sight.

If you’re hoping to see snow on your next trip to Hawaii, you’ll, unfortunately, be out of luck. It’s incredibly unlikely that it will snow again anytime soon.

Yes, it does snow in Hawaii but only at the top of the mountains – most probably on the three volcanic mountains listed below.

Places in Hawaii to see Snowfall

Mauna Kea – A dormant Volcanic Mountain

Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in Hawaii, is also one of the best places in the state to see snow. The mountain peak, more than 13,000 feet above sea level, receives an average of 30 inches of snow each year. And because the summit is so high, the snow usually lasts well into the spring.

Snow in Mauna Kea
Photo by Vanessa Fortier on Unsplash

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii and want to experience some of the island’s winter weather, head to Mauna Kea. Just be sure to dress warmly and bring your snow gear, as the temperatures at the summit can drop below freezing. And while you’re there, don’t forget to take in the stunning views of the islands and the Pacific Ocean.

Mauna Loa – The Long Mountain

It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, It is home to some of the most stunning scenery and landscapes that Hawaii has to offer. One of the most popular attractions in this place is the snow-capped mountain peaks. Every year, millions of people visit this snowy mountain to see the snow mountains peak.

A person standing in Mauna Loa Volcano
Photo by Daniel Norris on Unsplash

Although it rarely snows on the Big Island of Hawaii, it is an event that is not to be missed when it does snow on Mauna Loa. The last time it snowed on Mauna Loa was in December 2016. The snowfall was so heavy that the roads leading to the summit of Mauna Loa were closed for several days.

If you plan to visit Mauna Loa, check the weather forecast in advance. While the chances of seeing snow on Mauna Loa are slim, it is always possible. And, if you are lucky enough to witness a snowfall on Mauna Loa, it will surely be an experience you will never forget.

Haleakala – The Sun Kissed State

Snow is one of the most popular reasons to visit Haleakala National Park. The high elevation of Haleakala (10,023 feet/3,055 meters). It means this place often has snow, while the rest of Maui Island is sunny and warm. It’s not unusual to see people sledding or making snowmen while others are picnicking in shorts and t-shirts just a few miles away.

Snow in Haleakala
Phone by Dronepicr via Wikimedia Commons

The best time to see snow on Haleakala is usually from December to February, although it can occur at any time. The white mountain gets an average of 35 inches of snow yearly, but accumulation can vary significantly annually. One winter may see several feet of snow, while the next sees only a few flurries.

However, the snow usually doesn’t last long, especially at lower elevations.

Snow in Coastal Regions of Hawaii

In the coastal regions of Hawaii, snow is a very rare occurrence. However, when it does snow, it’s always a beautiful sight.

The last time it snowed in Hawaii was in December 2016, only in some island regions. If you’re visiting Hawaii and hoping to see some snow, your best bet is to head to the top of Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa.

These tallest and snowy mountains in Hawaii usually offer the best chance of seeing snowfall. Even if you don’t see any snow, the views from these mountains are still absolutely stunning.

The Islands that get Snow!

Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii are home to two of the world’s largest volcanoes. They are also tall enough to reach above the clouds into an area known as the trade winds. The trade winds bring cold air from the north, and sometimes snowfall begins on these two volcanoes.

Although it’s not very common, it has also been known to receive snow at sea level on the Big Island. In December 2008, flurries were reported in Hilo, located on the island’s east side. And in February 2011, there was a brief snowfall on Kauai near Mount Wai’ale’ale, one of the wettest spots on earth!

You may also like to read some Hawaiian Words & Phrases to help your trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often does it snow in Hawaii?

Although it rarely snows in Hawaii, there have been a few instances where snow has fallen on the state’s mountains. In December 2008, for example, snow fell on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two of Hawaii’s tallest volcanoes. However, this is very rare and generally only happens at high altitudes.

What months does it snow in Hawaii?

The answer to this question is that it snows in Hawaii during December, January, and February. These are the winter season in Hawaii. During these months, the temperatures in Hawaii are cooler, and there is more precipitation. It helps create the perfect conditions for snowfall.

Which Hawaii Island has snow?

The top of Mauna Kea, a volcanic island, is covered in snow during the winter months. Snow also falls on the upper slopes of Mauna Loa, another volcano on the island. Hawaii’s other islands do not have any snow.

Does Hawaii get cold?

No, Hawaii does not get cold. The temperatures in Hawaii are relatively stable year-round, averaging in the mid-80s Fahrenheit. So while you may experience a cooler evening or morning during your visit, you can rest assured that the temperature will warm up again during the day.

Does snow attract tourists to Hawaii?

Yes, snow does attract tourists to Hawaii. Tourists are often drawn to the island for its beautiful beaches and warm weather. However, it is a significant event that attracts even more tourists when it snows on the island. The last time it snowed in Hawaii was in December of 2016, and it brought in tens of thousands of extra tourists.

Can you Ski in Hawaii?

The answer is no. You cannot ski in Hawaii (It is not a Ski destination). The tallest mountain in Hawaii is only 10,023 feet, which is too low to support a Ski resort. In addition, the climate of Hawaii is not conducive to skiing, as it is typically warm and humid.

Conclusion

So there you have it! It does snow in Hawaii, although not very often, and usually only at high elevations. If you’re planning a trip to see the volcanoes, pack a coat, just in case! And who knows, if you’re lucky, you might even get to see a flurry while enjoying some time at the beach.

Having fun on the other side is no less than spotting snowfall in Hawaii. Likewise, some best theme and amusement parks do the work. Let us know in the comments if you have spotted snowfall in Hawaii.

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