High wind warning extended for Big Island summits | Mauna Kea Access Road closed


A high wind warning for the Big Island summits has been extended through 6 a.m. Thursday. The Mauna Kea Access Road is closed.

The service forecast southwest to west winds of 40 mph to 65 mph with gusts topping 75 mph. The warning was prompted by an upper-level trough located near the island that will bring winds to the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea summits, forecasters said.

Forecasters said the wind speeds may fall below warning levels during the morning hours, they will increase to dangerous levels in the afternoon as the trough shifts northwest. The strongest winds will occur over ridges and exposed structures at the higher elevations.

The Mauna Kea Weather Center said the Mauna Kea Access Road was closed above the Visitor Information Station because of fog and ice on the summit. The current temperature at the summit is 32.6 degrees.

The service cautioned that winds this strong can cause property damage and making driving difficult. Travel to the summit should be delayed until the winds subside.

A high wind warning means that sustained winds are expected to be at least 55 mph with gusts reaching 65 mph at the summit, according to the service.