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Dangerous blizzard conditions and hurricane force winds forecast for summits

An image taken at 2:15 p.m. Friday (Jan 2) on the summit area of Mauna Kea from the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope webcam.

An image taken at 2:15 p.m. Friday (Jan 2) on the summit area of Mauna Kea from the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope webcam.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a Blizzard Warning for the summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea above 11,000 feet and a forecast for hurricane force winds on the summits from 6 p.m. this evening until 6 p.m. Saturday (Jan 2-3).

Heavy snow squalls, extremely strong winds with severe blowing and drifting snow and possible thunderstorms with lightning strikes are forecase. The NWS is forecasting around a foot of snow with higher drifts with the worst conditions expected late tonight and early Saturday morning.

Wind is forecast to be from the West at 50-90 mph with localized gusts over 130 mph at the highest elevations with the temperatures falling into the lower 20s. Visibility is forecast to be near zero at times in whiteout conditions.

Travel to the summits will be extremely dangerous and life threatening. A blizzard warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely.

The road to the summit of Mauna Kea remains closed at the Visitor Station to the public due to Hurricane force winds, heavy fog, rain and ice on the road.

For current information about road conditions visit: mkwc.ifa.hawaii.edu/current/ro…

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