Chilly Haleakalā: Black Ice, “Snow Flurries,” No Accumulation on Ground
By Wendy Osher
Wintry weather in the form of black ice and snow flurries have been reported atop Haleakalā.
There were no winter weather advisories in effect, but there were reports of “snow flurries off and on with no accumulation on the ground,” said Nancy Stimson, Choctaw, Chief of Interpretation and Education Haleakalā National Park in an email communication with Maui Now this morning (Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019).
Park officials announced the chilly weather in a Facebook post dated Jan. 29 at 6:12 p.m. saying, “Winter has officially arrived atop Haleakalā! Be extra careful as you’re driving up to visit the summit as we’ve been having ongoing wintry weather and icy conditions.”
Black ice forced the temporary closure of the summit road at Haleakalā on Tuesday night. The severe road conditions were reported between the 9740-foot (Haleakalā Visitor Center) and 10023-foot (summit) elevation. Stimson said a quarter mile of road was closed briefly for safety reasons and then reopened a few hours later.
“Weather conditions can change instantly with no warning,” said Stimson in an email today. “Visitors should be prepared for cold conditions with blowing rain. Roads may be closed with little to no notice because of severe weather conditions. Overnight temperatures reach into the 30 degrees F and highs are in the 40 degrees F.”
The last time it snowed at Haleakalā was February 19th of last year, when 1.5 inches of snow and a heavy layer of ice was reported.
Stimson described today’s conditions as a “white out.” “We’re in dense fog, with blowing rain. All I see outside my office window is white. Not a photogenic mountain today,” she said.