MAUNA KEA, Hawaii – Deep snow has covered the top of Mauna Kea on Monday, as a winter storm warning remains in effect for the summit area above 11,000 feet until 6 p.m. HST.
The mountain was shrouded in clouds for much of the day, however Lynn Beittel of Visionary Video got a peek at the blanket of white from Waimea on Monday morning (photo above).
The National Weather Service tallies accumulations of up to 5 inches this morning with more to come. Also, high winds are blowing from 60 to 80 mph with localized gusts to over 100 mph.
“The Mauna Kea Summit Access Road remains closed at the 9,200 foot Visitor Information Station due to extremely strong winds and deep snow on Summit roads” said an early morning ranger report. “Road-clearing operations will begin as soon as practical.”
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi even remarked on his Facebook page. “Unbelievable!” posted the mayor, looking at the snow covered mountain from the Daniel K Inouye Memorial Highway. “Never seen snow so low on the south and west side.” (NOTE: See comment from Andrew Cooper of the Keck Observatory below.)
According to the Mauna Kea Observatories Forecast, there could be more later this week:
The mid-level air mass is set to dry out as the inversion rebuilds near 8 thousand feet over the next 24 hours, allowing the odds on fog and snow to subside for tonight and especially tomorrow night. However, there is a high risk for ice and high humidity particularly for tonight and perhaps tomorrow night. Dry and stable conditions should prevail for Wednesday night, but the inversion is expected to fall apart as moisture and instability fills into the area on Thursday. This may lead to a saturated environment, which will increase the risk for more fog, ice and snow at the summit for Thursday and Friday night. Some afternoon clouds are possible over the next 3 days, and will turn extenisve for Thursday and Friday.Mauna Kea Observatories Forecast