By Mahita Gajanan
February 13, 2019

A winter storm over Hawaii brought snow to a state park in Maui for what could be the first time ever, officials said.

Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area on the island of Maui was covered in snow on Sunday, marking the first likely snow fall in a Hawaii state park, according to the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).

The snowfall could also be the lowest elevation snow ever recorded in Hawaii, DLNR said. Polipoli is at 6,200 feet elevation.

In a state known for its beaches and always warm weather, the snow in Hawaii was cause for excitement for many park visitors.

Snow came to Polipoli amid a winter storm that hit other parts of the state, bringing low temperatures, snow, winds and powerful surf. The National Weather Service in Honolulu said a mix of wintry weather is expected Wednesday and Thursday, making it dangerous around Haleakala Summit in Haleakala National Park in Maui.

While snow on Hawaii’s peaks is not uncommon, it is uncommon to see snow at an elevation as low as 6,200, Melissa Dye, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told KHON2.

“That is pretty rare for Maui,” she said. “I had talked to a ranger this morning and he said they had 4-foot drifts. Very impactful.”

Dye said the storm came as part of what’s called a Kona low, which comes when cold, low-pressure air stream breaks off from the main jet stream and forms a circular pattern, according to Accuweather. Kona lows can bring rough surf, cooler weather and snow to volcano peaks.

“This system was so cold and strong, those lower temperatures helped any precept falling to fall as snow,” Dye said. “Kona lows are typical for this time of year.”

Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com.

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