Hawaii Blizzard Warning Leaves Meteorologists Dumbfounded: 'Wow!'

A rare blizzard warning for Hawaii has left meteorologists dumbfounded, as several parts of high terrain on the island prepare for heavy rain, snow and gusts this weekend.

The blizzard warning was issued by the National Weather Service in Honolulu on Thursday for Hawaii's Big Island summits starting Friday at 6 p.m. HST to Sunday at 6 a.m. HST.

Up to 12 inches of snowfall are expected alongside wind gusts of over 100 mph, according to local weather forecasters.

"Travel should be restricted to emergencies only. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle," the National Weather Service advised.

Meteorologists took to Twitter to express their disbelief, with many pointing out that it's not something the island experiences often.

"WINTER IN HAWAII: You probably have seen this going around social media and it's not fake," said meteorologist Brittany Foster of Channel 8 KLKN-TV in Lincoln, Nebraska. "Hawaii is dealing with some snow! A Blizzard Warning is in effect for the Big Island Summits as up to 12 inches of snow is expected with wind gusts over 100 mph. WOW!"

"A blizzard warning is in effect this morning... in Hawaii," meteorologist Will Haenni for television station WWMT in Kalamazoo, Michigan, wrote.

"You don't see this every day! BLIZZARD Warning in Hawaii!" Christina Talamo, a meteorologist for NBC-affiliate WNYT NewsChannel 13 said.

Brad Nitz, a meteorologist with WSB-TV in Atlanta said: "Update: a Blizzard Warning has been issued for HAWAII!! It's for the summits on the big island of Hawaii. A foot of snow and 100 mph gusts expected. WOW!"

According to Matt Devitt, chief meteorologist at Wink News, it's the first time a blizzard warning has been issued in Hawaii since 2018.

"Wind up to 100 mph and 12"+ of snow both possible at the Big Island summits!" he said.

It's the only U.S. state to have a blizzard warning in place currently, according to Anthony Franze, chief meteorologist at NewsWest9 in Midland, Texas.

The National Weather Service said in a report that "unsettled weather" will persist in the state this weekend through early next week.

CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said he finds it "fascinating" that "we have to go to the tropical parts of the country to see where our blizzard warnings are in place."

The areas surrounding the Mauna Loa volcano could see up to a foot of snow and strong wind gusts, he said.

"It will be nearly impossible to travel across the areas," Van Dam added.

"Blowing snow will significantly reduce visibility at times, with periods of zero visibility," the National Weather Service warned, noting that the strong winds will likely cause significant drifting of snow.

It said heavy rain and flooding are expected in the lower elevations of Hawaii.

 A lone snow plow in Warminster, Pennsylvania
A lone snow plow is barely visible through the wind blown snow January 22, 2005 as it navigates a highway during a major winter snowstorm in Warminster, Pennsylvania. The National Weather Service in Honolulu on Thursday issued a rare blizzard warning for Hawaii's Big Island summits. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images