After winter storm, crews clear snow drifts up to 10 feet high from Mauna Kea road

Hawaii is no exception to the severe winter weather.
After big winter storm, crews working clear 10 feet of snow on Mauna Kea summit
After big winter storm, crews working clear 10 feet of snow on Mauna Kea summit(UH Hilo Center for Maunakea Stewardship)
Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 3:56 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 22, 2022 at 4:20 PM HST
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HILO (HawaiiNewsNow) - The road to Mauna Kea’s summit remains closed as crews clear piles of snow that fell during a strong winter storm that barreled over the state earlier this week.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo Center for Maunakea Stewardship said the road is likely to be closed for several more days.

The recent storm brought winds of more than 100 mph, sleet, freezing rain and heavy snow to the mountain.

And once the clouds cleared, crews found snow drifts of up to 10 feet along a 1/2-mile stretch of the road.

Officials say the snow and ice are exceptionally difficult for staff to clear.

Video from UH Hilo’s Center for Mauna Kea Stewardship shows crews operating snow plows on the road.

The center says it’s working as quickly as possible to reopen the road above the Visitor Station.

The public is asked to remember that the summit of Mauna Kea can be extremely dangerous. The weather can change rapidly, resulting in severe conditions including freezing temperatures, blizzards and high winds.

Emergency services may be two hours away because of the remote location. Additionally, cell phone coverage is unreliable, and there is one public emergency phone on the summit.

Visitors are asked to heed all directions and precautions from Mauna Kea Rangers.