Snow on Mauna Kea was visible yesterday from the site of the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope on the mountain. CLICK FOR LARGE
Mauna Kea unsafe after snow
Roads remain closed, with icy conditions expected to continue
HILO » The first snow of the year on Mauna Kea in the last few days left the summit an unpleasant, dangerous place, Mauna Kea Support Services said.
Snow started falling Monday night and was about 3 inches thick yesterday, according to the support agency. Ice and snow on the summit road were expected to continue today, it said.
The agency plowed the road yesterday but had to leave it closed to the public because of remaining ice.
"The heavily overcast and foggy conditions have not allowed the sun to provide enough radiation to melt all of the ice, even after snowplows removed the loose snow," the agency said.
Internet views of the summit from live video cameras at observatories confirmed a dreary picture. Some cameras showed ice and blobs of water on the lens. Others showed mere glimpses of a neighboring observatory through foggy air.
A view of the night sky was also blocked and astronomical observing was shut down.
People in Hilo saw a mass of clouds, but no mountain. In Waimea, the bulk of Mauna Kea was visible, but the summit remained hidden.
Still, the support agency knows that people will be driving up the mountain when conditions improve. They warned against ice, sunburn from light reflected by snow, and careless snowboarding with people sliding downhill into rocks.