MAUNA LOA, Hawaii – A photo shared on social media Sunday (above) shows a long line of vehicles driving up the narrow Mauna Loa Observatory Road, likely in search of fresh fallen snow.
Its a common practice for residents of tropical Hawaii Island to seek the snow on the occasion it accumulates on the higher elevations of its prominent volcanoes – Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa – both of which rise over 13,000 feet above sea level.
Hawaii Island summits are currently under the fourth day of a Winter Storm Warning. The mountain tops have already been covered in deep snow.
Mauna Kea is usually the first choice for snow-seekers, however the Mauna Kea Access Road has been closed all day at the 9,200 ft. elevation Visitor Information Station. The alternative is Mauna Loa.
A photo taken by Keoni Williamson shows cars stretched far onto the horizon of the one-lane Mauna Loa Observatory Road. The bumpy path leads up to the 11,000 ft. level of the giant volcano, to gate of the NOAA-operated observatory. It can be a dangerous situation, as there is little room for error in a traffic jam of this nature.
Mauna Loa webcams show the crowds appear to have dispersed as of nightfall.
The National Weather Service says a Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for both mountains above 12,000 ft.