I visited Makaha Valley Towers on January 11, 2017 and viewed this voggy weather. We've been having a pleasant winter with north winds mixed with trade winds then suddenly it came to a stop and now we've got the humid vog. Our hazy sky looks similar big cities such as Los Angeles.
If you're unfamiliar with vog, here are the basics:
What is Vog?
It's Volcanic Smog - sulfur dioxide emitted from Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island. Kilauea began erupting in 1983 and has erupted continually since then - 34 years and counting!
Why do we get Vog?
The Kona side of the Big Island usually gets the worst vog because it's relatively close to and downwind of the volcano. Oahu and other islands usually are less affected as the trade winds (blowing from the east-northeasterly) direction push the vog to the southwest of our islands. In the winter we also get north winds, blowing north to south and they push the vog away.
Now and then, tropical depressions and other weather phenomena block the trade winds or change the wind direction from south to north. Kona, in Hawaiian means "leeward" and in normal trade wind conditions the leeward side of an island is the south side. The "windward" side of an island is the side where the wind usually first contacts the island. Kailua and Kaneohe are referred to as the windward side.
Avoid the effects of Vog
Vog is similar to smog created by motor vehicles, factories etc. It's bad stuff and when we have extensive vog it can be difficult to breathe, particularly for asthmatics and other persons with lung issues. For persons who experience discomfort from vog, it's recommended that they limit outdoor exercise and if possible, stay indoors in air conditioning with the air recirculating to avoid bringing in newer polluted air. Air conditioning usually does not filter out sulfur dioxide from the air.
The best solution to avoiding vog is to move away from it. In Kona wind situations, it's difficult, maybe impossible unless you jump on a plane and fly to the mainland. Air filtering masks and indoor air filtering systems can also help.
The Vog will go away
Sometimes the vog lingers for days, even weeks. Eventually the trade winds will pickup and blow the vog away. Until then, be careful and monitor your health. Voggy days are usually hot because the trade winds also keep the islands cool. Stay hydrated until relief from the trade winds returns.
On this particular day I was viewing properties at Makaha Valley Towers. Driving back into town, the vog blanketed the island. Makaha is no worse than other neighborhoods when the vog moves in.
Mike Bates (Realtor Associate)
CENTURY 21 iProperties Hawaii
1585 Kapiolani Blvd #1533
Honolulu, HI 96814