The US National Weather Service currently has severe winter weather warnings with heavy snow forecast in place for two states, Alaska and …Hawaii.

The tropical islands are expected to receive at least 30cm (12 inches) of snow, driven in on 100 mph winds.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Blowing snow will significantly reduce visibility at times, with periods of zero visibility. The strong winds will likely cause significant drifting of snow,” the alert warns.

Although world famous for its sunshine and surf, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea (library pics used in this piece) is actually one of the world’s tallest mountains, rising around 9,300m from its base making it taller than Everest, and snow-capped year-round.  However about two thirds of it lies beneath the Pacific and it rises 4,207m above the ocean.

It is possible to ski or board on Mauna Kea although there are no lifts, Last year a woman was injured after sustaining a head injury sledging there, and a group of snowboarders were censured for boarding off the snow on to the dry ground lying below it as the mountain is sacred to the island’s native people. Playing on the snow lying above the surface has been accepted but making contact with the ground beneath has not.

Mainland North Americas is hoping the weather reaching Hawaii will be part of a forecast that should see an end to the unusually warm and dry weather across the country this Fall as a series of storms are expected to begin moving across the continent.