(BIVN) – A layer of snow coated the summit of Maunakea on Monday morning, after heavy rains the day before prompted a Winter Weather Advisory for Hawaiʻi island summits above 12,500 feet.
The Maunakea Summit Access Road was closed to the public at the Visitor Information Station located at an elevation of 9,200 feet, rangers said at 9:17 a.m. HST, due to “extensive fog, ice and snow on the road, high humidity with freezing temperatures and the forecast for thunderstorms.” Rangers said they will continue monitoring road and weather conditions and will reopen the road to the public when the conditions are safe.
Although the National Weather Service has lifted the Winter Weather Advisory, there is still a chance for convection and heavy snow through the night. From the Maunakea Observatories forecast at 7:30 a.m. HST on Monday:
The atmosphere near the Big Island will remain saturated and unstable probably through Thursday night, perhaps even Friday night. Nevertheless, there is a good chance that extensive fog, ice, high humidity and/or flurries will continue to plague the summit through the next 5 nights. There is also a possibility for convection in the area and periods of heavy snow mainly over the next 2 nights. Extensive daytime clouds are expected throughout the forecast period.
Snow can occur at the summit of Maunakea at any time of year, although it most commonly occurs during the winter months. Previous to today’s event, the most recent snowfall at the summit was reported on Easter Sunday. Rangers say are very few road closures from April 1 through November 3.