Hawaii with 'unprecedented' 191mph winds as locals stunned by FREAK winter storm

Hawaii preps for potential 60-foot waves wind gusts ahead of gargantuan storm

Almost every winter, the rest of the continental United States is surprised by headlines announcing that snow has graced the summits of Hawaii's tallest peaks.

Snow covered Polipoli as a part of a storm that battered the islands over the weekend with strong winds, powerful surf and relatively low temperatures for the subtropical state.

Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources says it may very well be the first time snow has fallen at a state park in the state. Hawaii News Now reported a 66-year old California man died in the rough surf off northwest Maui on Friday.

A historic low-pressure system passed through the Hawaiian Islands over the weekend, leaving behind damaging winds and record snowfall, according to the National Weather Service and Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui's Polipoli State Park received a coating of snow, something that could be a first for the island.

Haleakala National Park remains closed due to snow and ice and will remain closed until conditions are safe for members the public, the Maui Emergency Management Agency reminded residents and visitors.

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Winds of up to 191 miles per hour whipped at Mauna Kea's peak on Sunday, while a maelstrom of waves up to 60 feet churned on Oahu's north shore.

Jon Jelsema, senior forecaster at the Weather Service office in Honolulu said: "That's the strongest wind gust I've ever seen up there".

"For perhaps the first time ever, snow has fallen in a Hawai'i State Park". An advisory means that "sustained winds of at least 30 miles per hour or gusts of at least 50 mph are expected". Another rarity produced by this storm system was a severe thunderstorm warning, which was issued for the island of Kauai.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Tom Birchard says there's still a hint of snow Tuesday.

A high wind warning was in effect for the Big Island summits until 6 p.m. HST (11 p.m. ET) Tuesday. While Maui does not often see snow, the nearby Big Island does sometimes get snowfall atop the higher peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

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