(The Weather Channel) Hawaii was pounded by a storm with flooding rain, strong to severe thunderstorms, and a blizzard atop Mauna Kea on Wednesday.
Blizzard warnings were posted early Wednesday morning for the summits on the Big Island above 11,000 feet. This was the first blizzard warning for the summits since March 2015, or nearly two years ago.
The road to the summit above 9,200 feet was closed due to snow and ice accumulation, as of Wednesday night, according to the Mauna Kea Weather Center.
Web cams from Mauna Kea Wednesday showed accumulated snow at the observatory, but somewhat improved visibility.
Meanwhile, flooding rain has swamped parts of the islands the past few days. A flash flood watch remains in effect through Thursday night for the Big Island, Oahu, Molokai, Maui, Lanai and Kahoolawe.
Severe flash flooding closed a stretch of the Kamehameha Highway on Oahu in Sunset Beach. Four vehicles were floating in flood waters, according to the National Weather Service.
Radar estimated up to 14 inches of rain had fallen over that area from Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning, with rain rates up to 4 inches per hour.
Rockslides blocked lanes of the Hana Highway near Wailua Falls on Maui. Heavy rain had also shifted into Kauai, shutting down the Kuhio Highway at the Hanalei Bridge.
On Wednesday night, water up to two feet deep prompted road closures in Kihei, on the south side of Maui.
If that wasn’t enough, on Wednesday morning, the NWS office issued the first severe thunderstorm watch in Hawaii since Aug. 24, 2015, for the threat of large hail and damaging winds.
The so-called “Kona storm,” centered southwest of the island chain, is expected to finally lift away later Thursday. These cooler-season storms bring the majority of rainfall to leeward (south- and west-facing shores of the islands) locations between December and March. Winds are shifting from the typical northeast (windward) direction to a southwest (leeward, or Kona) direction with these storms.