Voggy conditions forecast through Friday

  • The lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu crater is seen 7 a.m. Wednesday and has changed little in the past few days. (USGS photo by N. Deligne/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • The Kilauea Volcano summit eruption plume is visible Tuesday morning. (USGS photo by K. Kamibayashi/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • HVO scientists monitor the ongoing Kilauea summit eruption from within an area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park that remains closed to the public for safety reasons. (USGS photo by L. DeSmither/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • This photo, taken around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, shows Kilauea’s ongoing summit eruption. The western vent in the wall of Halema‘uma‘u continued to erupt overnight, and the northern/eastern vent remained inactive. (USGS photo by L. DeSmither/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Vog is expected to return to West Hawaii areas as northeasterly trade winds take hold following several days of relatively clear skies.

With the trade winds forecast to continue through at least Friday, portions of Hawaii Island, primarily the North Kona, South Kona and Ka‘u districts, may experience “intermittent concentrations” of vog from Kilauea Volcano’s ongoing summit eruption, forecasters with the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Vog Measurement and Prediction Project said Tuesday afternoon.

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Air quality could decrease to “moderate,” which is considered acceptable, however, there may be health concerns for a small number of people. The remainder of the state will experience no vog impacts, according to the project.

Though the winds are forecast to bring the vog, or volcanic smog, across West Hawaii, the amount of sulfur dioxide and other gases, which make up vog, being emitted from Kilauea Volcano continues to decrease.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said Wednesday morning the volcano was pumping out 3,300 tons per day of sulfur dioxide (SO2) as it was Monday afternoon. That’s down from 5,500 tons per day on Sunday, and a drastic reduction from the start of the eruption when an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 tons of SO2 was being released from Halema‘uma‘u crater.

The observatory said 3,300 to 5,500 tons per day were in the range of emission rates common for the lava lake that developed inside Halema‘uma‘u prior to the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption.

Meanwhile, lava activity remains confined to Halema‘uma‘u on the northwest side of the crater. As of 4 a.m. Tuesday, the lava lake was estimated at 587 feet to 591 feet deep with a narrow black ledge around it, according to the observatory. Wednesday morning, little change was reported by the observatory.

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The lake’s volume was about 5 billion gallons and it covered about 72 acres. It remained about 1,340 feet below the rim of Halema‘uma‘u.

For more information on the ongoing eruption, visit https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory. For more information on vog, including ways to monitor air quality, visit https://vog.ivhhn.org.

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