ENVIRONMENT
03/04/2017 12:13 am ET

Hawaii Had More Snow This Week Than Denver Or Chicago Has Had All Year

Don't be fooled: Hawaii is not an up-and-coming ski destination.
The mountaintops on Hawaii's Big Island are no strangers to snow.
French Peter via Getty Images
The mountaintops on Hawaii's Big Island are no strangers to snow.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning in Hawaii this week. While that may sound peculiar, it’s not all that extraordinary. It snows nearly every year on the Big Island’s tallest mountains, where the warning was issued.

But during that blizzard, which lasted late Tuesday to early Wednesday, the Big Island received more snow than Denver has received all year, according to Fox 31 Denver.

Indeed, this week’s blizzard left up to 8 inches of snow on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, which are both more than 13,000 feet high, USA Today reported. Denver, on the other hand, has had a total of only 7.9 inches of snow measured in 2017. However, the Mile High City has had 19.3 inches of snow for the winter season, according to CBS Denver.

The Big Island’s peaks even saw more snow than Chicago, which documented zero snow on the ground in January and February for the first time in 146 years, The Chicago Tribune reported.

Chicago’s measurements don’t include any snow that may have fallen and melted after 6 a.m., which is when the National Weather Service measures the snow. Some experts are chalking up Chicago’s lack of snow to climate change, according to the Tribune.

“This is occurring against a backdrop of a changing climate,” Tom Skilling, a Chicago meteorologist told the newspaper. “I think the door is open to additional unusual weather events as we go forward.”

And the Aloha State’s blizzard was particularly strong.

“The reason for the snow amounts being heavier than we usually see is that the upper low (pressure system) really persisted down there, that has allowed colder air to remain locked in place,” Andrew Orrison, a forecaster for the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center, told Reuters on Thursday.

But don’t let the Big Island’s recent show of snow fool you: The islands are not taking over as the next premiere ski destination.

The Hawaii Snow Ski Club website states that Mauna Kea’s summit only “sometimes gets a skiable/boardable mantle of snow.”

“There are no lifts, no grooming, no resort,” the website says. “Conditions at the top are extremely variable.”

The club also warns that “snow conditions on Mauna Kea may not be the best in the world.”

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