Friday, December 4, 2009

Wind Direction Closes Lava Viewing Area ~ Cold Front brings clouds & rains

The County Civil Defense in Hilo shut down the viewing area at 3:15 PM yesterday because of light south-southwest winds pushing the toxic ocean entry plume over top of the viewing & parking areas. Today winds continue to be light and variable, so this might also affect its usual opening time of 5:00 PM. If considering a trip out to the viewing area it might be best to check the Lava Viewing Hotline at 961-8093 first. Updates are generally announced by 2:00 PM, but sometimes later as was the situation yesterday.

Another informative overview image that helps us gauge the volcanic haze direction & coverage up around Kilauea Caldera is this Natural Park Service sulfur dioxide conditions site. It automatically updates quit often.

What sucked the Big Island’s air from the south, and causing the vog to come over, is this fast-moving and multi layered cold front pushing down from the north (yes another one) over the Hawaiian Islands. This front also caused a lot of heavy rains and flash flood warnings last night on some of the islands.

A Central Pacific infrared satellite image loop presently currently shows the large rain bands to the north – northeast tearing away from the islands . The blue zones are the rain that blasted all the islands except the Big Isle last night. The loop also shows the cold upper level air mass soaring over the top of all other clouds. Altogether we have a somewhat unstable weather pattern through the weekend – For the southeast shores of the Big Island this could mean: cooler, not too many rain showers, variable & light winds an maybe some nice sunsets.

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