Latest Forecast for Mauna Kea Observatories
10 AM HST (2000 UTC) Monday 11 February 2019
Chance for fog/ice and flurries.
Cloud Cover and Precipitation Forecast
There is a small risk for periods of fog, ice and flurries at the summit through the night; skies will remain predominately clear.
Summary of Key Meteorological Variables
Summit temperatures will be near -5 C this afternoon and -8 C for the night. Winds will be from the west at 60-80 mph for today, easing to 50-70 mph for the night. Seeing will exceed 1 arcsecond, while precipitable water is expected to be in the 0.7-1 mm range for the night.
Although the tradewind inversion is expected to rebuild through the next 24 hours, strong winds may still usher moisture up to the summit and contribute to period of fog/ice and perhaps light flurries at the summit, mainly over the next 3 nights. This risk may briefly increase as a band of deep moisture passes through, which could weaken/lift the inversion on Wednesday. Extensive daytime clouds are possible over the next 3 days, particularly on Wednesday, then will taper a bit for Thursday and Friday.
Skies will remain predominately clear of organized clouds throughout the forecast period, but there is a possibility that patches of low-level clouds will move in from the north and pass over summit area on Wednesday evening.
Precipitable water is expected to linger just below 1 mm for tonight, increase subtly toward 1-1.5 mm for much of tomorrow night and into the early part of Wednesday night, then slip to 0.6-0.7 mm (possibily less) for Thursday and Friday.
A mixture of strong boundary layer/free atmospheric turbulence and perhaps instability/moisture will contribute to bad seeing through the next 5 nights.
The strong low to the NE will continue to depart eastward, allowing the air mass to stabilize and winds to taper a bit over the next 12-24 hours. While this should help diminish the risk for moisture at the summit for tonight and into tomorrow night, winds will still linger or even exceed 50 mph as a very large/strong mid/upper-level low lingers in the area probably throughout most of the forecast period (the parent trough is expected to settle in the area well into next week). In addition, a band of mid/low-level moisture wrapping around the northern portion of the low is set to spread southward over the next 36-48 hours, which could help briefly destabilize the air mass and increase the risk for fog/ice and flurries at the summit mainly for Wednesday. The air mass should stabilize again as this moisture passes southward and the mid/upper-level low shifts eastward a bit on Thursday. This may also allow very dry/mid-level air to settle in over the summit, which could drive PW toward 0.5-0.6 mm for that night and into Friday night. Still, there is a very good chance that moderate/strong winds will persist, stirring up boundary layer turbulence and contributing to poor/bad seeing throughout the forecast period. Long term projections suggest that this mid/upper-level low will retrograde westward and weaken a bit over the weekend. Although this may help to finally reduce summit-level winds to more managable levels, unstable air along the eastern flank of the low could settle in overhead, which could increase the risk for moisture at the summit during that time and into the early part of next week.