Hawaii is bracing Sunday for another foot of snow, in addition to the 2 feet that landed on the island’s highest mountain peaks since Thursday, The Weather Channel reported.
The snow is falling on the peaks of the Big Island of Hawaii, including Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, and the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the area through late Sunday night.
"The snow level almost never gets below 9,000 feet in Hawaii during the winter, but since these mountains are taller than 13,600 feet, 13,700 feet and 10,000 feet, respectively, they get dusted with snow a few times a year," said Ken Rubin of the University of Hawaii. "It rarely stays on the ground for more than a few days though."
The storm warning stated that an extra 6 to 12 inches of the white stuff may land above 11,000 feet, and winds could reach 15 to 30 mph.
Yes, it snows in Hawaii, Matthew Foster, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said he had to explain to some surprised out-of-state callers Friday.
"Typically when we get these snow events, it does get a lot of attention," he said, adding that he explains to curious callers that the snow is falling in a small, remote area where there are mainly telescopes and scientists. "We do have very high mountains here."
Once they realize the heights of the mountains, snow in the island state makes a little more sense, said Ryan Lyman, forecast meteorologist with the Mauna Kea Weather Center. Mauna Kea is nearly 14,000 feet above sea level.
The weather service forecasts new accumulations of about a foot of snow Friday night through Saturday. An additional foot is possible Sunday. Temperatures are in the mid-20s to lower-30s.
That's a significant amount of snowfall, but not uncommon for the summits, meteorologists say.
Lyman said there has been 30 to 36 inches in recent winters.
It's enough snow to shut down operations on Mauna Kea, Lyman said. The mountain's access road is expected to remain closed until next week, he said.
The weather service doesn't keep track of what the record amounts of snowfall are on the summits. Heavy snow is often accompanied by wind, which create drifts that make it difficult to accurately measure snowfall, Lyman said.
Abundant snow on Mauna Loa's 13,677-foot summit could be seen at sunset Thursday from parts of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, said park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane.
There was heavy rain in other parts of the state Friday, with a flash flood warning in effect for Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island.
The Associated Press and Fox News contributed to this report.