Hawaii hit by heavy rains, large waves, blackouts — and snow

A family plays in the snow at Polipoli State Park in Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Penny Thomas/Facebook

Feb. 12 (UPI) — A powerful winter storm in the Pacific triggered flooded roads, blacked out communities and even brought a rare sight to Hawaii — snow.

At least three people were injured in the winter storm, which prompted Oahu Mayor Kirk Caldwell to declare a warning of “all hands on deck” and advise residents in certain areas to stay at home.

Electricity interruptions have impacted tens of thousands of people, officials said.

Firefighters on Oahu answered more than 100 wind-related calls, which included damaged roofs and arcing power lines. Wind gusts approaching 200 mph were recorded at the top of the Mauna Kea mountain. Near the beaches, large waves washed onto the shores and flooded roads. Wave heights of up to 60 feet were reported.

Officials warned residents to watch out for dangerous debris — power lines and trees that fell onto neighborhood streets.

Forecasters said snow — an extremely rare sight for Hawaii — fell on the Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area on Maui. At 6,200 feet, it could be the lowest elevation snowfall ever recorded in the state. A number of state park operations were closed ahead of the storm.

Lifeguard Bryan Phillips said the waves at Shark’s Cove were “on another level.”

“Super, super dangerous. Water is washing over the road in several places,” he said. “It’s a weather event and wave event that some people have never seen in their lifetimes.”

Severe storms have battered the West Coast in recent days. Washington state saw as many as 10 inches of snow over the weekend.


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