Blizzard Watch posted for Big Island summits

Published: Dec. 22, 2014 at 10:51 AM HST|Updated: Dec. 23, 2014 at 4:33 AM HST
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BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The summit areas of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii have been placed under a Blizzard Watch from Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu said low pressure developing near the islands could spread a band of deep moisture and layered clouds over the Big Island. If that happens, heavy snow and blizzard conditions are possible at summit areas about 12,000 feet.

A Blizzard Watch means there is a potential for falling and/or blowing snow with strong wind and extremely poor visibility, leading to whiteout conditions that will make travel very dangerous.

Forecasts are calling for the possibility of very strong winds and bitterly cold wind chills, with accumulations of six inches or more if snow occurs. Temperatures may drop to the upper 20s to lower 30s with wind chills in the teens.

There is still some uncertainty whether the area of deep moisture will extend over the Big Island or remain just to the east. However, even if the snow doesn't materialize, very strong winds are still possible. Forecasters have issued a High Wind Warning for the summit areas through 6 a.m. Thursday. South winds of 70 miles per hour with gusts to 95 miles per hour are expected Tuesday night and Wednesday, with or without snow.

The Blizzard Watch replaces the Winter Storm Watch that was issued earlier.

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