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Snowstorm Forces Road Closures To Hawaiin Volcanoes

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Millions of Americans are finding themselves pummeled by one last snowstorm this winter– one that even includes residents on the island of Hawaii.

The road to Mauna Kea, the dominant volcano on Hawaii Island, is closed due to snow and ice on the roadway, reports Hawaii News Now. Snow was still falling Thursday after a winter storm warning went into effect Wednesday night for Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

Temperatures dropped to 12 degrees Fahrenheit and snow drifts between 1.5 and 2 feet have been reported near the top of the volcano. It’s not clear when the road to Mauna Kea will be opened up to vehicles.

Update: Road to #Hawaii‘s Mauna Kea summit closed after #WinterSTORM http://t.co/l2pijfefNi #HIwx #snow pic.twitter.com/NGdRynR0ul

— Johnny Kelly (@stormchaser4850) March 5, 2015

This is not the first time Hawaii’s volcanoes have gotten snow. In fact, Hawaii Island gets snow just about every year, but only near the peaks of the island’s three volcanoes: Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Haleakala.

“The snow level almost never gets below 9,000 feet in Hawaii during the winter, but since these mountains are taller than 13,000 feet, 13,000 feet, and 10,000 feet, respectively, they get dusted with snow a few times a year,” according to Ken Rubin, a geologist at the University of Hawaii.

“It rarely stays on the ground for more than a few days though,” Rubin said. “Although the rest of the island chain enjoys warm tropical weather the entire year-round, there have been ‘freak’ cold storms a few times this century that have brought local snow storms down to as low as 3,000 to 4,000 feet. This snow has melted very quickly, however.”

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