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Winter wonderland? Hawaii experiences white-out conditions as snow falls

MAUNA KEA, Hawaii -- Yes, it even snows in paradise.

The summits of famed Hawaii volcanoes Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are getting an early coat of snow this season -- with up to eight inches in the forecast.

A winter storm warning is in effect through Tuesday night as the summits of the Big Island experience white-out conditions, CBS affiliate KGMB-TV reports. Conditions on the summits are dangerous. 

The entrance to the summit of Mauna Kea has been closed at the Visitor Information Station at the 9,200-foot level due to fog and icy roadways.

In a statement Tuesday morning, the Mauna Kea Weather Center said the atmosphere near the Big Island will be "completely saturated" and "unstable" through at least Friday night and possibly even Saturday.

"Inoperable conditions will continue to be the norm as extensive fog, ice, high humidity, overcast/thick clouds and periods of rain/snow plague the summit through the next 4-5 nights," the Mauna Kea Weather Center said.

Snow accumulates at the Mauna Kea summit Tuesday afternoon. Mauna Kea Weather Center

Temperatures are expected to fluctuate near the freezing mark -- ranging from 33°F to 27°F -- throughout the day with east winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour.

A light blanket of white powder was captured on the Mauna Kea Observatory 30 webcams late Monday into Tuesday. An interactive summit map shows ice detected in the area.

While it may seem unusual, it's actually not rare for snow to fall on Hawaii's mountains.

Last year, the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa -- the state's two highest volcanic peaks -- saw up to two feet of snow in early December.

At the time, Ryan Lyman, forecast meteorologist with the Mauna Kea Weather Center, told CBS News there has been 30 to 36 inches in recent winters.

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