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Hawaii braces for foot of snow amid blizzard warning

The Big Island mountain summits can expect at least 12 inches of snow and wind gusts of 100 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
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A blizzard warning is in effect for Hawaii's Big Island mountain summits.

At least 12 inches of snow are expected to fall in the region this weekend amid wind gusts of 100 mph, the National Weather Service said Saturday.

The warning will remain in place until at least early Sunday morning.

The National Weather Service warned against traveling to the area, saying it "could be very difficult to impossible."

“Blowing snow will significantly reduce visibility at times, with periods of zero visibility,” the agency said.

The warning only applies to Hawaii’s tallest peak, Mauna Kea, which is 13,803 feet, as well as Mauna Loa, the second-tallest at 13,679 feet.

The snow is part of a weather pattern forecast to bring heavy rain, giant swells and flooding to lower elevations across the islands this weekend, NBC affiliate KHNL reported Friday.

The National Weather Service’s prediction center said it’s common to see snow above 11,000 feet in Hawaii. The state’s third-tallest peak, Haleakala, which stands at just over 10,000 feet, only records snow every two to three years.

Parts of Alaska's Yukon Delta are also expected to see whiteout conditions with 70 mph winds, blowing snow and a light accumulation of new snowfall, the National Weather Service said.

More winter weather is expected in the lower 48 this weekend, with forecasters calling for a swath of heavy snowfall across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes.