With days moving deeper into spring, Old Man Winter is taking his time depart the island of Hawaii with another round of snow and ice falling there. With accumulating snow and ice, the National Weather Service in Honolulu on the island of Oahu is extending a Winter Weather Advisory for Big Island summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa at/above the 12,000 foot level.
According to the National Weather Service, an upper level trough over the Hawaiian Islands will produce layered middle and upper level clouds over the highest summits of the Big Island through the afternoon. These clouds will produce periods of snow, freezing drizzle, and freezing fog; additional snowfall of 1-2″ is expected this afternoon. Winds will also be stiff: winds could gust up to 60 mph, making travel on icy roads even more hazardous.
“Plan on slippery road conditions. Snow showers and fog will significantly reduce visibility at times, with periods of zero visibility,” the National Weather Service warns. A Winter Weather Advisory is issued when periods of snow, sleet, or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Slippery roads and limited visibilities are common in areas where a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect.
Due to the wintry and windy weather, the access road to the summit of Mauna Kea is closed to the public at the Visitor Information Station at an elevation of 9,200 feet. Snow and icy conditions with fog, high humidity, and freezing temperatures are responsible for the closure. The road is closed whenever there is any ice or snow on the road, winds greater than 55 mph for one hour and/or gusts greater than 65 mph, visibility less than 50 feet, or any other condition that makes the road unsafe for travel.
Earlier this year, the Big Island saw a significant snowstorm that produced 1-2 feet of snow. That large 2021 snowstorm brought out snowboarders and skiers to try out the tropical snow on the slopes of Mauna Kea.
Hawaii isn’t the only place where Old Man Winter is hanging on. While a snowstorm is expected in the northeast on Thursday, April 1, temperatures well below freezing will settle deep into the south from the north on Friday morning too.