Any Snow on Kauai?

In a comment to a previous article, Mark suggests that we need artificial snow here. Skiing is as close as the Big Island this time of year, as a matter of fact they were at it just this week:

Snowboarding enjoying a one foot (30cm) base of snow at 19.8 degrees of latitude north
Photo credit: KITV News 4 via the Honolulu Star Bulletin

Winter storms leave snow on the volcanos of Mauna Loa (“Long Peak” at 13,415′ or 4089m) and Mauna Kea (“White Peak” at 13796′ or 4205m), though it rarely builds up. People ski at Mauna Kea since the road goes all the way up to the telescopes at the summit. Get a friend with a 4-wheel drive and some chains, but don’t take your expensive boards because I bet more than a few rocks poke through. I’ve always wanted to fly over there with my randonnĂ©e skis but I’d have to be lucky to time it right. And then I don’t know if I could handle the uphill skiing after driving up there from sea level.

So the Big Islanders are lucky to see some snowy peaks, but it got me thinking: has it ever snowed on Kauai? The highest point here is 5243′ or 1598m near Mt Wailaleale, but sometimes we get a cold winter storm that might freeze up there overnight. I have never heard someone mention snowflakes falling in Kokee, the highest road on Kauai at 4000′ (1240m), but then again, I’ve never asked. A quick Google for “snow on Kauai” yeilds no evidence, although I did learn that a Kauai chief once wooed a snow-goddess of Mauna Kea and the large Poliahu heiau (stone-walled temple) in Wailua, 3 miles from my house, is named after her.

I’ll start asking around, some of the old timers here might be able to tell me, though I’d really like to find someone who has seen the snow falling themselves.

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  1. deb says:

    Well it might not be real, but it does looks like snow at Kukui Grove in Lihue. They have made it snow a couple of times this season already. The keiki go wild because it really looks like snow.

  2. john bauer says:

    When I was stationed at PMRF Barking Sands on Kauai in the US Navy from 1984 to 1988 they got 2 inches of snow in the winter of 1986 at Kokee Park. they closed the local schools and bussed the kids up there to play in the snow,,

  3. Andy says:

    Hi John, Sorry I didn’t see and approve your comment early, life has been busy recently and I’m unfortunately neglecting this blog. But thank you for this comment, this is the first eyewitness account of snow on Kaua’i that I have heard of. Now I just need photographic evidence. I did google “snow kokee 1986” and find an article mentioning freezing temps in Kokee, but still now snow photos:

  4. Norbert says:

    Around 1840 J. J. Jarves reported that hail and snow are not uncommon in the upland regions of Kauai.

    The more recent Weather Bureau records mention light snow only once, in November of 1933. Frost and hail appear to have been more common.

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