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Snow on Maunakea, Moisture on Maui

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Snow on Mauna Kea and abundant moisture on Maui are in the forecast for today as wet and chilly weather makes its way over the islands.

Abundant moisture ahead of a front combined with an upper level trough will result in periods of heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms to Maui and Hawaiʻi Counties, according to the latest forecast issued by the National Weather Service.

The agency issued a Winter Storm Warning for the summits of Hawaiʻi Island until 6 a.m. on Thursday and a Flash Flood Watch for Maui and Hawaiʻi Counties until late Wednesday night.

The NWS reports that a total snow accumulation of 12 to 24 inches is expected, with localized higher amounts possible on the Big Island summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa above 12,000 feet.

The Mauna Kea Weather Center is forecasting “fog, ice, and thick clouds” in the summit through the night with temperatures below freezing through tomorrow morning.  The MKWC is forecasting temperatures to be near -0.5 C (31.1 F) this afternoon, -2.5 C (27.5 F) this evening and -3 C (26.6 F) tomorrow morning.

Hawaiʻi County officials say that due to the Winter Storm Warning, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park has closed Mauna Loa summit to back country travel until further notice.  The Office of Mauna Kea Management has also closed the Mauna Kea Access Road to the public above the Visitor Center until further notice.

Mauna Kea Gemini Telescope 12.19.17 7:59 a.m. (Image: University of Hawaiʻi)

Mauna Kea Gemini Telescope 12.19.17 7:59 a.m. (Image: University of Hawaiʻi)

Mauna Kea Gemini Telescope 12.19.17 9:34 a.m. (Image: University of Hawaiʻi)