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Winter storm warning and flash flood watch in effect for Hawaii Island

Mauna Kea summit area Tuesday (Dec 19).

Mauna Kea summit area Tuesday (Dec 19).

Winter Storm Warning

A winter storm warning remains in effect for the summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea until 6 a.m. Thursday (Dec 21).

Heavy snow is occurring. Travel will be very difficult to impossible on the summit areas above 12,000 feet. Total snow accumulations of 12 to 24 inches expected, with localized higher amounts possible.

The heavy snow will be accompanied by strong gusty winds at times, resulting in considerable blowing and drifting snow, and reduced visibility. Travel will become extremely hazardous if not impossible.

Flash Flood Watch

A flash flood watch remains in effect for Hawaii Island through late Wednesday night (Dec 20).

Abundant moisture ahead of a front combined with an upper level trough will result in periods of heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms.

Excessive rainfall from heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms could lead to flash flooding of streams and low-lying areas.

Campers and hikers should avoid low lying flood prone areas. People should stay away from streams, drainage ditches and low lying areas prone to flooding. The rainfall and runoff will cause hazardous driving conditions due to ponding, reduced visibility and poor braking action. Excessive runoff may cause rockslides and mudslides in steep terrain.

Debris in streams and gulches may clog bridges and culverts resulting in flooding outside normal water channels causing damage.

Do not cross fast flowing or rising water in your vehicle or on foot. Turn around, don’t drown.

Due to these advisories, the following are issued until further notice:

  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has closed Mauna Loa summit to back country travel.
  • Office of Mauna Kea Management has closed the Mauna Kea Access Road to the public above the Visitor Center.
  • As in all severe weather conditions, expect possible interruptions in your utility services.
  • Should power outages occur, be on the alert for malfunctioning traffic signals. Please treat flashing traffic lights as a four-way stop.
  • Remember, if lightning does threaten your area, the safest place to be is indoors.

For links to the latest weather forecasts, reports, radar and satellite imagery visit our Weather Page at

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