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More ice, snow, surf in forecast

Extreme weather conditions remain in the forecast for the Big Island, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm warning, which was upgraded Wednesday from a winter storm watch, is in effect for the summits of Maunakea and Mauna Loa until 6 p.m. Friday.

A winter storm warning means periods of freezing rain and snow are forecast for the 10,000-foot level and higher and Hawaii’s two highest peaks, as well as Haleakala on Maui.

Forecasters say there could be snow 3 to 5 inches deep, with ice accumulations of more than a quarter-inch possible.

Strong winds also are possible, making travel to the summits very hazardous or impossible. The Maunakea Access Road remains closed above the Visitor Information Station.

At 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, the summit temperature was 22 degrees with 34 mph winds from the southwest.

In addition, a high surf warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. today along east-facing shores.

Surf, which was forecast to peak between 10 and 18 feet overnight, will gradually diminish today to 10 to 15 feet, according to forecasters.

”Large and rough surf will continue along exposed north- and east-facing shores into (today) as a short-period north-northeast swell slowly declines,” the warning stated.

According to Hawaii County Civil Defense, the following are closed because of the threat from the high surf: Hilo Bayfront Highway from Pauahi Street to Waianuenue Avenue; county beach parks from Keokea in Kapaau, North Kohala, through Laupahoehoe in North Hilo; and all beach parks in Hilo’s Keaukaha neighborhood.

Waves crashing onto Bayfront Highway deposited large rocks onto the roadway.

Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said those closures will be reassessed this morning.

“Oceanfront residents and beachgoers along affected shores are advised to be on the alert for high and dangerous surf,” Magno said. “Harbor surge will affect Hilo Bay. Boat owners and oceanfront residents should take action to secure their property.

“Closures of roads and beaches may occur without notice.”

In addition, a high surf advisory is in effect for north-facing shores until 6 p.m. today.

Email John Burnett at
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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