Concerns about the weather increase every year as record snowfall numbers affect the entire globe. Now, it is even getting colder in the unlikeliest of places, such as Mauna Kea Mountain, one of Hawaii’s oldest volcanoes.
This year, forecasters predicted that the area would experience between 10 and 15 inches of snowfall, and they hit the mark with disturbing accuracy. Residents woke up to a world blanketed by snow that fell overnight, prompting officials to close the road to the volcano’s summit.
The snow itself isn’t unusual, but the amount that has landed over the area in such a short amount of time is. Regular periods of minimal snowfall are not unexpected in the state’s most spectacular volcanoes: Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Haleakala.
Skiing is also not supported in the area, but residents and adventurous tourists often attempt to do so anyways. Although there are no ski resorts, ski lifts, or fancy ski shops, skiing down the massive Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, or Haleakala is spiritually rewarding for many visitors. In fact, it is a well-known activity even inside the Hawaii Ski Club.
However, the fact remains that wind chill temperatures have dropped below 8 degrees Fahrenheit and are expected to get stronger throughout the week. The Mauna Kea, which means White Mountain in Hawaiian, is fully living up to its name. The extreme temperatures are a curiosity for both hobbyists and scientists alike. Several pictures have also been released of the snow covered area, some of them breathtaking enough to circulate around the web.
According to the United States Geological Survey, Mauna Kea currently has a volcanic hazard rating of 7 with a high of 8 due to its inactivity. There is a fear that it could erupt in the future, but with warning, as several telescopes and scientists have taken root in the area to study the volcano. The area is also a favorite for astronomic and scenic observations. In fact, the record snow has only elevated its status among photographers.