Ice storm, treacherous roads keep Hawaii summit closed

AP News
Posted: Jan 09, 2015 1:19 PM

HILO, Hawaii (AP) — When snow falls on the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island, it usually means a rare opportunity for Hawaii residents to build snowmen and have snowball fights.

But the latest storm isn't providing any winter frolicking on the 12,796-foot summit.

An ice storm has kept the summit inaccessible for more than a week, the longest known period the area has been closed because of winter weather.

Office of Mauna Kea Management Director Stephanie Nagata tells the Hawaii Tribune-Herald ( ) that it's just a "sea of ice up there."

The ice melts during the day but refreezes when cold winds come later in the day and at night.

It's caused treacherous conditions on roads and parking lots, and portable toilets are crusted in ice.