National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

The National Weather Service (NWS) Honolulu Forecast Office (HFO) proposes to issue Winter Storm Warnings (WSW) and High Wind Warnings (HWW) in place of Blizzard Warnings (BZW) as needed. This change would be implemented on October 1, 2022.

Winter weather in Hawaii is generally confined to high elevations affecting only Maui and Hawaii Islands. No permanent residents live in the impacted areas and there is limited public access by vehicle. During past blizzard events, external partner feedback indicated the term “blizzard warning” drew attention away from more impactful hazards that affected the population centers, such as flash flooding.

National Weather Service Instruction 10-513 recently added the following wording to formalize flexibility with impact-based warnings:

"Alternatively, Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) can also opt for means of alternative messaging in lieu of warnings for locations at or above criteria when impacts are not expected to warrant alerting due to local climate or elevation and the risk of over warning."

To mitigate potential distractions caused by BZW, HFO proposes to issue both WSW and HWW instead of BZW starting with the 2022-2023 wet season. The conditions that meet the blizzard definition will be detailed in the WSW and HWW, including the phrase “Blizzard conditions possible.”

Please submit comments through August 24, 2022 regarding this proposal to:

For more information, please contact:

Elizabeth Vickery
Regional Operations and Services Meteorologist
Pacific Region Headquarters
elizabeth.vickery @

John Bravender
Warning Coordination Meteorologist
Weather Forecast Office Honolulu
john.bravender @
phone: 808-973-5275

National Service Change Notices are online at: