While USGS announced that Mauna Loa and nearby Kilauea volcanoes have stopped erupting hot lava, another nearby volcano is dealing with a fresh blanket of snow, ice, and freezing cold wind chill factors. Images shared by the W. M. Keck Observatory webcam showcase a winter wonderland high atop the Hawaiian volcano.
The twin Keck Observatory telescopes, located above a 13,000 foot elevation, are the world’s most scientifically productive optical and infrared telescopes. Each telescope weighs 300 tons and operates with nanometer precision. The telescopes’ primary mirrors are 10-meters in diameter and are each composed of 36 hexagonal segments that work in concert as a single piece of reflective glass.
While most people don’t associate the tropical paradise Hawaii is known for with snow, they’re surprised to learn that it does snow in the winter due to the elevation of these volcanic peaks. Mauna Kea is the highest of the bunch at 13,803 feet. Maui’s Haleakala is much lower at 10,023 feet. Because of that difference, Hawaii Island will see snow more frequently than the lower Maui Island. Just one storm in January 2020 dropped 2-3 feet of snow on Hawaii Island and created snow drifts that were far deeper. Another storm in January 2021 brought snowboarders and skiers out to the mountain by the dozens.
According to the National Weather Service in Honolulu on the island of Oahu, temperatures should warm up into the low 40’s after overnight lows in the 20s. With gusty winds blowing, wind chill factors have been at or below freezing today.
More snow is possible at the end of the week into the weekend as another weather disturbance moves through Hawaii.