The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a winter weather advisory for Big Island summits through Friday morning. Less than six inches of snow is expected to fall.
Forecasters said a cold low aloft will support snow showers and possible thunderstorms above the 12,000-foot elevation of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. The service noted that the snow may be accompanied by gusty winds and cloud-to-ground lightning. The wintry weather is expected to diminish on Friday as the low moves off to the northeast.
The service forecast east winds of 10 to 20 mph with localized gusts topping 25 mph. Temperatures are expected to be in the lower 30s.
The Mauna Kea Access Road was open as of 5:15 p.m. Thursday.
A winter weather advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties, according to the service, which cautioned drivers to be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibility. During times of heavy snow, visibility may be reduced to zero, forecasters warned.