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Voggy conditions expected to continue in West Hawaii; air quality meetings slated

  • CHELSEA JENSEN/West Hawaii Today

    A thick layer of vog obscures Hualalai on Monday morning in Kailua-Kona.

KAILUA-KONA — Vog continued to blanket West Hawaii on Monday and forecasters say the area is unlikely to see a reprieve until Thursday at the earliest.

Air quality for the Kona and Ocean View areas was considered unhealthy for “sensitive groups,” including 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.

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Air quality in East Hawaii was deemed “good” based on reports from monitoring stations in Hilo, Pahala, Pahoa High School and Mountain View.

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 in Honolulu. Flight operations were not disrupted.

No change is expected through Wednesday as northeasterly trade winds 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.

On Thursday, however, forecast models show the trade winds 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 trade wind flow, and sometimes just subtle changes in the direction can help,” he said.

Hawaii County, DOH and the U.S. Geological Survey plan a trio of community meetings to address air quality on Hawaii Island. Residents also can have 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. Wednesday at the West Hawaii Civil Center Council Chambers in Kailua-Kona.

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The second meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cooper Center in Volcano followed by a third meeting at 5:30 p.m. June 14 at Ocean View Community Center in Ocean View.

For the latest air quality data, visit vog.ivhhn.org/current-air-quality.

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