MAUNA KEA, Hawaii – The Winter Storm Warning remain in effect for Big Island summits above 11,000 feet.
The warning has been posted – off and on – since Thursday, and the tops of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa have already been covered in deep snow.
An additional 6 to 12 inches of snow is expected today and tonight, the National Weather Service reports. Winds will also be high; southwest 35 to 55 mph with gusts to 65 mph.
Forecasters say the weather makes for very dangerous driving and hiking conditions.
The heavy snow has prevented the world-class telescopes located on the summit of Mauna Kea from conducting observations of the night sky. Canada France Hawaii Telescope outreach program manager Mary Beth Laychak said the winter weather is a compliment to their holiday Star Party, held every year after the Waimea Christmas Parade.
“Snow on the night of our Christmas party, I think, makes it a little bit more magical,” Laychak said.
Since CFHT had to cease observations for the evening, the remote observing room was open to the visiting public during the holiday event.
The Mauna Kea Access Road is closed to the public at the Visitor Information Station at the 9,200 elevation, and road crews will resume their attempt to clear the road on Sunday morning, ranger say.
The Winter Storm Warning will be in effect until 6 p.m. Monday.