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Hawaii’s Christmas weather is white, sunny with surf

  • SMITHSONIAN ASTROPHYSICAL OBSERVATORY
    Snow is seen at the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa from the webcamera at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    This Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 photo shows a dusting of snow on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. While snow on the mountains is common, a blizzard with significant accumulation is unusual. (AP Photo/Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Hollyn Johnson)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    This Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 photo shows a dusting of snow on Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii. While snow on the mountains is common, a blizzard with significant accumulation is unusual. (AP Photo/Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Hollyn Johnson)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    This Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 photo a road block with a sign informing visitors that the road to the summit of Mauna Kea is closed after snowfall on the mountain on the Big Island of Hawaii. While snow on the mountains is common, a blizzard with significant accumulation is unusual. (AP Photo/Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Hollyn Johnson)
  • W.M. KECK OBSERVATORY
    A dusting of snow could be seen Thursday at the summit of Mauna Kea in this webcamera image from the W.M. Keck Observatory.
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Hawaii residents woke to sunny skies and snow on Big Island summits on Christmas.

A storm system that brought rain and cloudy skies to much of the state and a blizzard warning for Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa through Christmas Eve moved away from the state Wednesday afternoon.

A high wind advisory was raised to a warning Thursday afternoon for Big Island summits. Winds of 50 to 75 mph with gusts over 90 mph are possible through midnight, the National Weather Service said.

An ealier high surf advisory was canceled.

The forecast for Honolulu and south shores of Oahu calls for partly sunny to mostly sunny skies with highs around 78 degrees and northeast tradewinds of 10 to 15 mph.

On the Big Island, a light dusting of snow was visible on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, but the road to the summit remained closed.

The earliest the public can go up will likely be Friday, as road-clearing crews won’t be working on Christmas, said Ryan Lyman, forecast meteorologist for the Mauna Kea Weather Center. 

High temperatures at the summit were above freezing Thursday. But weather service meteorologist Norman Hui says the mountains will remain snow-capped for a day or two before the powder melts.

Kimberly Zarate-Amaya was hoping to be able to take her kids up to Mauna Kea to see the snow, but the road was closed Wednesday because of icy conditions.

"Honestly the fact it’s coming at Christmas is what makes it exciting," she said. "How often we can say in Hawaii we have a White Christmas?"

The last time there was a White Christmas was in 2008, Lyman said.

If Zarate-Amaya and her family can’t get to the snow, they’ll instead head to the town of Pahoa to get a glimpse of lava flowing from Kilauea volcano. Hawaii County Civil Defense said the lava remained stalled Wednesday about 700 yards from a shopping center. The leading edged hadn’t advanced since Monday, giving the community hope the lava would wait until after Christmas before oozing into Pahoa Marketplace. 

"The lava stalled and then the snow fell," Zarate-Amaya said. "Nowhere else in the world they can say that." 

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