Volcanic fog keeps kids in classrooms
HILO, Hawaii ” Some children at Mountain View Elementary School on the Big Island are missing recess.
The students have been kept inside their classrooms because of high levels of sulfur dioxide emitting from Kilauea Volcano.
Residents of Mountain View and other areas north of the constantly erupting volcano have been complaining about the volcanic fumes that have been settling in the little community.
Some residents say unusual winds have made it the worst vog, short for ‘volcanic fog,’ they’ve had in years.
Vice Principal Ken Watanabe says kindergarteners and second-graders at the school were kept indoors earlier in the week because the vog got so bad you could taste it in the air.
Cafeteria windows were closed Tuesday as school staff watched the vog creep onto campus.
“We had the fans going, the windows and doors closed. Everyone was coughing. It was horrendous,” school clerk Loretta Pinnow said.
The noxious fumes irritate the eyes, nose and throat and can cause headaches, congestion and sinus pain while aggravating asthma conditions.
The same low pressure system that brought rain to the state last weekend also switched the normal wind flow, said Tom Birchard, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Honolulu.
Instead of the normal trade winds taking the vog out to sea over South Point, the volcano’s emissions headed over Mountain View and Hilo, he said.
“The good news for folks in Mountain View is that the trade winds are making a return,” Birchard said.
Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hilohawaiitribune.com