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Heavy snow and lightning strikes forecast for Big Isle summits

  • COURTESY MAUNA KEA WEATHER CENTER

    An image from a web camera showing the Keck 1 telescope this afternoon on the summit of Mauna Kea.

More than six inches of snow and cloud-to-ground lightning strikes could hit the summits of Hawaii island beginning tomorrow, the National Weather Service said.

Big island summits above 11,000 feet were scheduled to be under a winter storm watch from Tuesday morning to Wednesday afternoon. The watch means significant snow accumulations could impact travel and create dangerous conditions for hikers.

A low pressure area northwest of Hawaii was creating the storm and allowing deep moisture to spread over the islands this week, bringing potentially heavy snow to Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.

The Weather Service warned of visibility of less then a quarter-mile, 10- to 15-mph winds with higher gusts, and slick, snow-covered roads.

The Weather Service urged travelers to consider postponing summit trips until the weather improves.

The National Park Service said today that Mauna Loa summit was closed due to the winter storm watch.

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