Vog forecast for North, East Hawaii

  • Lava activity remained confined to Halema‘uma‘u crater Wednesday afternoon with low fountaining from the west vent supplying a channel of lava pouring into the lava lake. (Image grab from USGS webcam/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Light and variable winds continue to provide West Hawaii areas some relief from the vog produced by the ongoing eruption at Kilauea Volcano’s summit.

The winds on Wednesday sent the volcanic plume from Halema‘uma‘u up toward Hilo, which saw some “vog-related air quality” issues during the day, including in Mountain View where air quality dipped to “moderate,” according to the University of Hawaii Vog Measurement and Prediction Project. Vog, or volcanic smog, is comprised of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and other aerosols that may cause some individuals to experience symptoms.

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The plume could be pushed back toward Ka‘u with the resumption of light trade winds forecast Thursday morning. However, any relief for East Hawaii is expected to be short-lived as trade winds are forecast to diminish in afternoon.

“As such, Hilo, the north side of the island of Hawaii, and Maui and Honolulu counties could have the risk of exposure to small amounts of vog. Some lingering vog may affect areas within the Ka‘u district,” the project said, noting based upon current emission rates that air quality should remain “good or acceptable.”

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists said Wednesday that sulfur dioxide emissions rates remained elevated at 2,500 tons per day, below the range of 3,000 tons per day to 6,500 tons per day seen before the 2018 lava lake.

The rate of emissions measured Monday was just over 7% of the amount of sulfur dioxide and other gases being released at the start of the eruption on Dec. 20 when an estimated 35,000 tons per day to 40,000 tons per day of SO2 was being released from Halema‘uma‘u crater.

Meanwhile Wednesday, lava activity remained confined to Halema‘uma‘u crater, with low fountaining from the west vent supplying a channel of lava pouring into the lava lake.

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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.