Sunday, 28 December 2008

Mauna Kea gridlock

Snow on Mauna Kea always brings a lot of traffic to the summit; when the access road to the summit is open of course. Today it was opened to the public and the amount of traffic up there was enough to prevent one of our observing teams from reaching the summit, they turned back due to the traffic jam.

It didn't matter too much, our snow-clearing crew went up earlier and despite their work on a Sunday, it doesn't look as though any observing will be possible tonight, but I've never heard of a traffic gridlock on the mountain. The snowfall has been tremendous so I guess a lot of people wanted to go up today to play in the snow.

Yesterday, while access to the summit was still closed to public traffic but open for properly equipped observatory vehicles, our night-time operators went up to check on the state of the observatories and the summit in general during daylight hours when conditions would allow a visual inspection. Without doubt there's been a fair amount of snow up there! Last week the MKWS was forecasting an inch or so of snow. I think there's been a little more than that.

The following pictures were not taken by me but by our intrepid operators on their summit tour yesterday:

On the way to the summit - the Subaru telescope in the mist and snow.

A little further up the access road - the snow blower in action and the road is almost passable.

The true summit - not much lava rock to be seen, just lots of white snow, ice and clouds.

Finally, a view that might look familiar, it's taken from the same place as the picture in the top of my blog and the place I take a lot of sunset shots. It looks cold up there!

1 comment:

Zuzana said...

Tom, I still have a hard time believing this is in Hawaii!
The lats picture is so interesting to look at when compared to your header picture. What a difference a few months can make.;))