NWS: Cloud formation likely airplane contrail

  • The cloud formation was also captured from Magic Sands Beach Park. (Mark Sale/Special to West Hawaii Today)
  • A line-shaped cloud that stretched over West Hawaii shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday appears to have been a contrail, meteorologists say. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — A line-shaped cloud that stretched over West Hawaii shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday appears to have been a contrail from a plane, meteorologists say.

West Hawaii Today received numerous reports from people South Kona to North Kona of what appeared to be a vapor trail arcing over the area from the ocean to over Hualalai. Calls and emails started coming in to the newspaper about 9:20 a.m.

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“I just noticed something coming from the ocean,” said South Kona resident Sam Kauhaihao, who captured the cloud formation on video starting at 9:10 a.m. “It just kind of moved slowly throughout the sky.”

Another photo, submitted by Mark Sale, showed the contrail over the Magic Sands Beach Park area. He questioned if a large plan had just sprayed a “chem trail” over the area about 9 a.m.

Gavin Shigesato, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu said, the white lines of vapor were a contrail from a plane that remained in the area for a period of time.

Contrails are “human-induced” clouds since they are formed by water vapor condensing and freezing on particles from airplane exhaust, according to NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia.

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“With the moisture that we have in the upper atmosphere, it’s not very uncommon to see this kind of phenomenon when we have this kind of weather pattern situated over us right now,” Shigesato said.

Pohakuloa Training Area Spokesman Mike Donnelly said no military fixed-wing aircraft were in the area at the time.

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