DISCUSSION: Into the first day of meteorological winter there has been a Winter Storm Warning issued for Hawai'i. Not a place you'd certainly expect, however Hawai'i island is home to Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, summits standing at 13,803 feet and 13,678 feet respectively.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning, valid until December 2nd, 1800 HST. While O'ahu is experiencing an influx of showers today, Hawai'i is set to experience some of this precipitation in the form of snow. This is all in part due to an upper level trough combined with increased moisture due to occur well into the Aloha Friday evening commute. The upper level low associated with this warning will bring 6-12 inches of snow through Friday, decreased visibility with gusts topping 50 mph. Road conditions are expected to be poor during this period, therefore the road to the summit of Mauna Kea was closed at the Visitor Information Station at an altitude of 9,200 feet. The warning is in place for locations above 8,000 feet, with expected precipitation at 12,000 feet on summits.
Wladimir Koppen, a noteable Climatologist who devised a classification system having been used since the early 1900's. His system was based on a "subdivision of terrestrial climates into five major types," according to Britannica. Within each zone of these five climates are sub-categories, as many as 14 that can define global climate more accurately.
Various climatologists define Hawaii's climates differently, but what can be said is that an average of 10 different climates are seen, some climatologists indicate as many as 13 out of 14.
What makes today's forecast of particular interest is as Hawai'i summits experience winter weather, due to their Polar Tundra climate as classified by Koppen, the nearby island of Oahu experiences precipitation in the form of rain, with temperatures in the mid to upper 80's, while temperatures are expected to be 20's to 30's on the Big Island summits. O'ahu has a tropical wet and dry savanna climate as classified by the Koppen-Geiger classification system. Precipitation on both islands are all attributed to the moisture brought by the upper level instability.
Video Courtesy: Canada-French-Hawaii Telescope
~Meteorologist Jessica Olsen