Thursday | July 28, 2016
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Hot, dry weather grips isle’s east side


Tribune-Herald staff writer

East Hawaii may remain hazier than normal for much of the week as trade winds continue to be disrupted.

The northeasterly winds, which help bring rain to the windward side, have been calmed by a high-pressure system in the north Pacific Ocean, stopping the wind flow that helps reduce the buildup of vog from Kilauea, said Kevin Kodama, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

“We won’t really see a return to trade winds for a whole week actually,” he said Monday. “Even toward the middle of the week, it’s not going to be back to normal.”

The current weather pattern also means a drop in rainfall for East Hawaii.

In Hilo, dry conditions have nearly shut off Rainbow Falls. Water flow was reduced to a side channel on Monday, robbing viewers of a picturesque plunge.

“For the Big Island and Maui, you are going to have nothing really eye-popping,” Kodama said of rainfall. “You may have some showers in the afternoon … but generally, it’s going to be light.”

People concerned about higher vog levels, including those with respiratory illnesses, should avoid too much activity outside, said Lisa Young, an environmental health specialist with DOH’s clean air branch.

“Typically for a healthy person, this isn’t too bad,” she said.

DOH was predicting that sulfur dioxide levels, an indicator of vog, will range between good and moderate for Hilo through Wednesday.

Kodama said the trade winds are also bringing less rain than normal when they are reaching Hawaii. That’s due to an inversion layer that reduces cloud buildup, he said.

“We’ve been seeing this trend for the last several years,” Kodama said.

The current weather pattern is also bringing voggy days to Honolulu and other parts of the state that aren’t as impacted by the ongoing volcanic activity.

It also may bring some light showers to the leeward side, hit hardest by dry conditions.

“They may get some spotty showers,” Kodama said of West Hawaii. “It’s nothing to appreciatively help the drought.

“For the west side to get really solid drought improvement, you need to have some significant weather system come through, and I’m just not seeing it.”

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