Chance of vog returns with trade winds

  • Halema‘uma‘u crater is seen Saturday afternoon via webcam. (USGS/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Trade winds are forecast to return today, increasing the chances of voggy conditions over West Hawaii areas.

With the change to light trade winds, volcanic smog from Kilauea Volcano’s ongoing summit eruption will be fanned 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.

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“Small amounts of vog is likely to impact the western half of the southern coast of Hawaii island (Ka’u district) that includes Pahala, Na’alehu, Ocean View, and South Point areas,” the forecasters wrote, adding that vog will also be transported onshore to the Kona districts.

Air quality is likely to remain “good or acceptable” based on current emission rates from the volcano, the project said Saturday.

According to the National Weather Service, the trade winds are forecast to diminish on Tuesday, which could provide some relief from the vog.

Meanwhile, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists said Saturday 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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Lava activity remained confined to Halema‘uma‘u crater. The lava 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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