Posted by: Anna Webb | April 26, 2009

Late Winter Hits Big Island


Snow-capped Mauna Kea

Snow-capped Mauna Kea

Is it just me, or is this the “Winter that wouldn’t leave” on the Big Island?

We were running our floor fan in December yet now a few days these past couple of weeks, I’ve considered a room sized heater. Before anyone gets the idea that I live in a high elevation such as Volcano Town, Mountain View or Hawaiian Acres, the fact is I live a half mile from the coast down here in what’s considered the Sun Belt of Hawai’i’s east side.

Several stalled out lows dispersed over a three month period created repeated high winds and winter storms, dropping snow on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, and we’ve found ourselves experiencing the “Winter that wouldn’t leave”.

I’m not complaining TOO much, however. The alternative would be heat and drought and I’ve come to love the blessing of a regular good rain to cool things down and fill up the catchment tank.

Long time residents here on the coast have noticed a difference this season, as well. One resident who has lived here over 20 years commented that he’s never experienced the type of weather and anomalous wind patterns that we’ve received so far this year. Climate change? Sure. The ocean currents are running at about 25% of their normal strength and that certainly plays a factor in the unusual weather patterns.

It’s a good reminder to keep your eyes open and being cognizant of the signals of fast weather change. Some friends got into trouble while boating back a few months ago when a sudden storm formed off the west side coast. He and his wife were out for a day of fishing in their pleasure boat. When the skies suddenly turned dark they headed in for shore. Along the way they spotted some people in trouble after their kayak overturned in the sudden high surf. He leapt out of the boat to assist them when all at once he found himself caught between the kayak and the rocks. The next wave smashed him against the rocks. While his wife helplessly looked on, he died doing what he always did – helping others.

As our Earth repeats its natural cycles of heating and cooling, we are well reminded to pay attention to the signs around us. Observe the birds and animals. Watch the skies, tune into the weather reports and make good choices about entering the ocean. Nature is a force to be reckoned with and no where on Earth is nature more diverse than on the Big Island.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go grab my sweater and wait for Winter to leave. Seems like I remember having a boyfriend like that once…


  1. You are right about the Winter that won’t leave…. we are not at a high elevation either – about 400 ft – but we have noticed that temps here are at least 5 degrees cooler than whatever temps show in Hilo, and for the past couple of months it has been blanket weather. Anthony was asking me today if I had ordered a fireplace yet…..;-) My computer Home Page has the weather gitzmo for Hilo and it says at the moment it is 69 degrees there – but the themometer on our back lanai says it is 56 here! and it is not quite 6:30 pm!


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