(BIVN) – The summits of Maunakea and Mauna Loa on Hawaiʻi island are facing extreme weather conditions Sunday night into Monday, as heavy snow and hurricane-force winds are in the forecast.
The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a High Wind Warning for the entire island of Hawaiʻi. However, while the lower elevations could see wind gusts up to 60 mph tonight through Monday, the summits are expected to see winds increasing to 90 to 110 mph late tonight, with one weather saying gusts as high as 135 mph will be possible.
The summits of Maunakea and Mauna Loa are also under a Winter Storm Warning, as heavy snow is expected to develop Monday.
“Total snow accumulations up to 14 inches,” the National Weather Service warning stated. “Wind gusts as high as 135 mph will cause significant blowing and drifting of snow.”
“Travel will quickly become impossible,” the forecasters wrote. “Blowing snow will significantly reduce visibility. Periods of zero visibility expected.”
“Light snow accumulations” are expected tonight, however some of the webcams stationed on Maunakea already show deep snow piling up on the ground and around observatory buildings.
The Maunakea Summit Access Road is closed to the public at the 9,200 ft. Visitor Information Station.
A Flood Watch is also in effect for all Hawaiian islands through Monday night.
“A strong front is moving rapidly toward the main Hawaiian Islands,” the National Weather Service wrote on Sunday afternoon. “Expect periods of heavy showers and thunderstorms through Monday night. Although individual showers will tend to move quickly, intense rain rates and the potential for training cells will lead to increased potential for flash flooding.”
The County of Hawaiʻi also announced the closure of the Waipiʻo Valley Access Road ahead of the storm. Officials say “residents and those needing to carry out official business may access the roadway as necessary.”