Partial Closures at Park Due to Winter Weather

The flooded and dark lava tube
Nāhuku, aka Thurston Lava Tube, was dark and flooded on Friday afternoon

NPS Photo/Sami Steinkamp

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News Release Date: December 2, 2016

Contact: Jessica Ferracane, 808-985-6018

Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) and the Kahuku Unit are closed due to impacts from heavy rainfall and flash flooding. The summit of Mauna Loa remains closed to all day use and overnight camping. Closures remain in effect until it is safe to reopen.
On Friday, the floor of the lava tube was flooded with rain, and water covered the electrical conduit system. The power was shut off, but visitor access is prohibited until further notice.
The Kahuku Unit, which is usually open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, was closed for the day on Friday morning due to flooding and a road closure on Highway 11. Staff will reassess conditions Saturday morning, and determine if Kahuku will open for the weekend.   
The National Weather Service extended the flash flood warning for Hawai‘i Island Friday afternoon through 5:15 p.m. HST.
On Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the summit of Mauna Loa that remains in effect. Heavy rain and high winds pummeled the 13,677-foot summit, and abundant snow was visible on webcams and at sunset Thursday.
The summit closure is in effect above the Red Hill (Pu‘u‘ula‘ula) Cabin. Hikers can still obtain a backcountry permit to hike to and stay at Red Hill Cabin, but backcountry permits to areas above 10,000 feet are suspended and day hiking is prohibited. Hikers going to Red Hill will be advised during the permit process to proceed with caution and carry appropriate gear.
“Park rangers will constantly monitor the roads and destinations within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park during this storm, and additional closures may be warranted,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.


Closure sign at entrance to lava tube
A closure sign was placed at the entrance to the trail leading to Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) Friday afternoon.

NPS Photo.

Rainwater ponding along rainforest trail at Nāhuku
Rainwater ponds along the rainforest trail at Thurston Lava Tube, Nāhuku, on Friday afternoon.

NPS Photo/Sami Steinkamp


Last updated: December 2, 2016

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