Snow slams Northwest again and even Hawaii gets some

Streets, homes and cars remain snow-covered on one of Seattle's steeper hills, Queen Anne, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. Schools and universities closed across Washington state and the Legislature cancelled all hearings as the Northwest dealt with snow and ice and prepared for more as a series of winter storms socked the region. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
People sled down an unplowed road on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Olympia, Wash. Schools closed across Washington state and the Legislature canceled all hearings Monday with winter snowstorms pummeling the Northwest again as a larger weather system wreaked havoc in the region and even brought snow to Hawaii. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
Judy Barket, of Pottsville, Pa., sweeps snow from the sidewalk in front of her business, Judy Barket Appraisal Services, in the 1900 block of West Market in Pottsville, Pa., on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (Andy Matsko/The Republican-Herald via AP)
A Husky props herself on a fence to greet her approaching owner at Sehmel Homestead Park in Gig Harbor, Wash., on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, during a break in a snowstorm that continues to blanket the Northwest. (Drew Perine/The News Tribune via AP)
Postal carrier Tom Arndt delivers letters to homes along South 19th Street in Tacoma, Wash., Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (Peter Haley/The News Tribune via AP)
Gina Nakamura skis past a nearly life-size snow sculpture of an orca whale as downtown is just visible in a light snow Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Seattle. Schools and universities closed across Washington state and the Legislature cancelled all hearings as the Northwest dealt with snow and ice and prepared for more as a series of winter storms socked the region. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A snowflake lands on Joshua Blau's eye as he tries to catch them in his mouth while heavy snow falls Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Seattle. Schools closed across Washington state and the Legislature canceled all hearings Monday with winter snowstorms pummeling the Northwest again as a larger weather system wreaked havoc in the region and even brought snow to Hawaii. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Pedestrians walk near Pike Place Market as snow falls Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in downtown Seattle. Schools were closed across Washington state as winter snowstorms continued pummeling the Northwest. Seattle's metro area has already been hit by three snowstorms in February, making it the snowiest month in Seattle in more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Madison Becker scrapes frozen sleet from her windshield as light, fluffy snow falls on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Bismarck, N.D. (Tom Sromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)
A King County Metro bus displays a snow route sign, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Seattle. Schools were closed across Washington state as winter snowstorms continued pummeling the Northwest. Seattle's metro area has already been hit by three snowstorms in February, making it the snowiest month in Seattle in more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Pedestrians walk near Pike Place Market as snow falls Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in downtown Seattle. Schools were closed across Washington state as winter snowstorms continued pummeling the Northwest. Seattle's metro area has already been hit by three snowstorms in February, making it the snowiest month in Seattle in more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
People walk up a closed off road as snow continued to fall in Olympia, Wash., on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. Schools closed across Washington state and the Legislature canceled all hearings Monday with winter snowstorms pummeling the Northwest again as a larger weather system wreaked havoc in the region and even brought snow to Hawaii. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
A pedestrian walks near the Amazon Spheres as snow falls Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in downtown Seattle. Schools were closed across Washington state as winter snowstorms continued pummeling the Northwest. Seattle's metro area has already been hit by three snowstorms in February, making it the snowiest month in Seattle in more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A young visitor walks along a snow covered trail Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, near Lebec, Calif. A series of winter storms socked the U.S west with unusual snow also falling in Hawaii and parts of Southern California. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Condo owners Suzanne Wittmann, right, and Jennifer Stock clear the sidewalk in front of their building following several more inches of snow that fell overnight Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Seattle. Schools and universities closed across Washington state and the Legislature cancelled all hearings as the Northwest dealt with snow and ice and prepared for more as a series of winter storms socked the region. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Antoniette Richards, left, and her friends Zusette Rios, center, of Dallas, and Sister Monyen, of the Philippines, explore near a nearly life-sized snow sculpture of a sea lion Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Seattle. Schools and universities closed across Washington state and the Legislature cancelled all hearings as the Northwest dealt with snow and ice and prepared for more as a series of winter storms socked the region. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Pedestrians cross a deserted street as heavy snow falls Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Seattle. Schools closed across Washington state and the Legislature canceled all hearings Monday with winter snowstorms pummeling the Northwest again as a larger weather system wreaked havoc in the region and even brought snow to Hawaii. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Michael Monsivais, left, makes a snow man with the help of his girlfriend Torrie Martinez at Fort Tejon State Historic Park, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Lebec, Calif. A series of winter storms socked the U.S west with unusual snow also falling in Hawaii and parts of Southern California. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Snow falls on the statue of Seattle Mariners' legend Ken Griffey Jr., Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in front of T-Mobile Park in Seattle. Schools were closed across Washington state as winter snowstorms continued pummeling the Northwest. Seattle's metro area has already been hit by three snowstorms in February, making it the snowiest month in Seattle in more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Pedestrians share an umbrella as heavy snow falls Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Seattle. Schools closed across Washington state and the Legislature canceled all hearings Monday with winter snowstorms pummeling the Northwest again as a larger weather system wreaked havoc in the region and even brought snow to Hawaii. Seattle's metro area had already been hit by three snow storms this month and the National Weather Service reports that Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has received 14.1 inches of snow so far in February, more than twice the annual average and the snowiest month in more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Snow falls around the statue of Seattle Mariners' legend Ken Griffey Jr., Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in front of T-Mobile Park in Seattle. Schools were closed across Washington state as winter snowstorms continued pummeling the Northwest. Seattle's metro area has already been hit by three snowstorms in February, making it the snowiest month in Seattle in more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Kevin Shepherd walks back to the tent where he lives as snow falls in Seattle's SODO neighborhood, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Seattle. Shepherd, who works as a musician and pedi-cab driver when the weather is better, said keeping warm is the hardest part of being unsheltered during the winter weather that has dumped snow across the Northwest. Seattle's metro area has already been hit by three snowstorms in February, making it the snowiest month in Seattle in more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A group of people who share living space in a van, left, gather on a street in Seattle's SODO neighborhood, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Seattle. Thomas Bolander, right, said that finding different ways to keep warm and dry out was the hardest part of being unsheltered during the winter weather that has dumped snow across the Northwest. Seattle's metro area has already been hit by three snowstorms in February, making it the snowiest month in Seattle in more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A sledder moves aside as traffic heads downhill in heavy snow falling Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Seattle. Schools closed across Washington state and the Legislature canceled all hearings Monday with winter snowstorms pummeling the Northwest again as a larger weather system wreaked havoc in the region and even brought snow to Hawaii. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A crew from Pierce Transit puts tire chains on a metro bus in downtown Tacoma, Wash., Monday, February 11, 2019. Schools closed across Washington state and the Legislature canceled all hearings Monday with winter snowstorms pummeling the Northwest again. (Peter Haley/The News Tribune via AP)

SEATTLE — Schools closed across Washington state and the Legislature canceled all hearings Monday with winter snowstorms pummeling the Northwest again as a larger weather system wreaked havoc in the region and even brought snow to Hawaii.

Seattle's metro area had already been hit by three snow storms this month and the National Weather Service reports that Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has received 20.2 inches (51 centimeters) of snow so far in February, the snowiest month in more than 50 years.

The storm that hit Seattle Sunday dumped up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) of snow. More than 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow fell on Monday with rain and snow expected Tuesday as a lingering jet stream drives cold arctic air into the normally temperate region, and was part of a larger cycle that has also driven snow as far away as Hawaii.

In the state capital of Olympia, lawmakers cancelled meetings and the University of Washington in Seattle and Washington State University in Pullman called off classes.

And as far away as Northern California, Humboldt County beaches that have not had snow in more than 15 years received a dusting and blizzard conditions caused whiteouts on mountain roads.

In Seattle, the snow's effects were amplified by a prolonged stretch of cold temperatures.

"You've got storm after storm sliding down the sweet spot to produce low-level snow," said Kirby Cook, a meteorologist at Seattle's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration office. He described weather systems pulling cold air from Canada and combining it with moist air pulled east from the Pacific Ocean.

When snow does fall in the area, normally enough warm air is drawn from over the Pacific to melt it soon after it falls, but the steady stream of cold air has kept normally-mild western Washington colder than normal — and let the snow build up.

"It's really rare for us to maintain this pattern," Cook said.

Joe Zagrodnik, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington, said the larger system at work — namely the position of a cold jet stream — was also driving warm temperatures in Alaska and unusual weather in Hawaii.

With a north-south ridge of high pressure situated off the coast of Washington and Canada, Zagrodnik said, cold air being drawn southward inland is being replaced by warm air moving north offshore, driving temperatures up in parts of Alaska even as Seattle freezes.

And a chunk of cold, low-pressure air separated from the main flow is also drifting further west. Known as a Kona Low, the system caused unusual snow on the island of Maui.

Hawaii officials said the blanket of snow at Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area is likely the first for any state park. Polipoli is at 6,200 feet (1,900 meters) and is possibly the lowest elevation snow ever recorded in the state.

When Lance Endo's friend camping at a state park on Maui texted him early Sunday that there was snow he jumped in his truck and drove more than hour to see it.

"I just wanted to go play in the snow," Endo said.

Endo headed back down from the park on the slopes of Haleakala, where the weather service says there were snow drifts of about 4 feet (1.21 meters), to bring his two children up to the park. Endo said he wanted his kids to "see something that's very unusual in Hawaii."

In Washington, Zagrodnik said, February's total already sets the month as the snowiest single month in the state since November of 1985, and the snowiest February on record. Figures for the state are usually taken from the nearby airport, despite a seven-year gap at the site in the 1990's. The cold snap stands out as an anomaly amid a trend of winters in Washington state becoming more mild since as early as 1900, driven by global warming, said assistant Washington state climatologist Karin Bumbaco.

Not every decade is warmer than the previous, said Bumbaco, noting that some mid-century years had produced snow records, but overall winters have been trending distinctly warmer.

Elsewhere around the U.S., the Midwest braced for more ice storms. Authorities say a northeastern Indiana man and his two daughters died after his car slid off a snow-covered rural road and into a river.

In the Northeast, a winter storm is expected to dump up to 2 feet (61 centimeters) of snow in the high elevations. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency for the state that goes into effect at midnight. New York City is expected to get 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of snow on Tuesday before it all changes over to sleet and rain. Schools across the region are closing or delaying start times because of the weather.

___

Associated Press reporter Jennifer Kelleher contributed from Honolulu.

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