Relief from vog in the forecast

  • The eruption from the west vent in Halema‘uma‘u crater continues at Kilauea’s summit on Thursday. (USGS photo taken by L. DeSmither/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Light and variable winds forecast through the weekend are expected to provide West Hawaii areas some relief from the vog.

With the change from trade winds, which typically fan the volcanic smog over Ka‘u and up to the North and South Kona districts, forecasters with the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Vog Measurement and Prediction Project said elevated concentrations of vog near the Kilauea Volcano summit (Halema‘uma‘u) are possible, along with the potential for the volcanic plume to shift and change direction rapidly.

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“Volcano Village and areas north of Halema’uma’u may see intermittent vog exposure over the weekend. The Ka’u and Kona districts may continue to see exposure to light concentrations of vog,” forecasters wrote Thursday afternoon.

Air quality is likely to remain “good or acceptable” based on current emission rates from the volcano, the project said, however, there could be an occasional dip into “moderate” air quality near Ocean View during the coming days.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists said Thursday morning that sulfur dioxide emissions rates remained elevated, but in the range of 3,000 tons per day to 6,500 tons per day. The levels have stayed in that range since Dec. 27 and are similar to values common for emissions from the pre-2018 lava lake. At the start of the eruption on Dec. 20, an estimated 35,000 tons per day to 40,000 tons per day of SO2 was being released from Halema‘uma‘u crater.

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Meanwhile Thursday, lava activity remained confined to Halema‘uma‘u crater with west vents spattering from the top of a small cone plastered on the crater’s northwest wall. The lake was estimated to be 636 feet deep and covered 70 acres as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the observatory.

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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