KAILUA-KONA — Vog continued to blanket West Hawaii on Monday and forecasters say the area is unlikely to see reprieve until Thursday, at the earliest.
Air quality for the Kona and Ocean View areas was considered unhealthy for “sensitive groups,” or the elderly, children and those with breathing problems, for most of the day. It was some improvement from the early morning hours when air quality was deemed “unhealthy” for all people, according to the state Department of Health.
Visibility at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole was reduced to 3 or 4 miles, said Derek Wroe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service forecast office in Honolulu. Flight operations were not disrupted.
No change is expected through Wednesday as northeasterly tradewinds continue to push the plume of volcanic smog around South Point where it interacts with thermally generated winds that pull it up into an eddy system off Kona, Wroe said.
“Unfortunately, it’s not good news for you folks,” he said.
On Thursday, however, forecast models shows the tradewinds weakening, which could result in some of the vog that’s enveloped the area to move out, Wroe said.
“A little bit of a change in the tradewind flow, and sometimes just subtle changes in the direction can help,” he said.
Hawaii County, the state Department of Health (DOH) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have planned a trio of community meetings to address air quality on Hawaii Island. Residents can also have their questions answered by members of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, DOH Clean Air Branch, DOH Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office and the Mayor’s Office.
The first meeting is slated at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the West Hawaii Civil Center Council Chambers in Kailua-Kona.
The second meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cooper Center in Volcano followed by a third meeting at 5:30 p.m. on June 14 at Ocean View Community Center in Ocean View.
For the latest air quality data, visit vog.ivhhn.org/current-air-quality.