Hawaii 'vog' blankets Marshall Islands

Haze attributed to the ongoing Kilauea volcano eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii blanketed Majuro Atoll and other islands in the Marshall Islands yesterday.

United States weather officials on Guam issued a special weather update on Sunday about the "haze plume" that is expected to continue moving westward through the Federated States of Micronesia.

Hawaii residents refer to the haze caused by volcanic eruptions on the Big Island as "vog," a phenomenon now being experienced in the Marshall Islands, more than 2,300 miles to the southwest of the Hawaiian Islands.

The volcano in Hawaii is now in its fourth week of continuous eruptions.

The "volcanic haze (is) spreading across Micronesia," announced the U.S. National Weather Service based in Guam.

"The latest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hysplit model run executed by Weather Forecast Office Guam projects haze produced by Kilauea volcano in Hawaii to spread southwestward over the next few days. This trajectory indicates haze will spread southwestward across Micronesia."

Local residents in Majuro reported limited visibility caused by the haze.

"Local weather observers at both Kwajalein and Majuro have reported haze at the airports today," said the Guam weather office.

"This haze is expected to spread farther westward and reach Kosrae, Pohnpei and possibly Chuuk (in the Federated States of Micronesia) over the next few days."

The "Marshall Islands experienced a similar phenomenon several years ago due to Kilauea releasing plumes," said Meteorologist in Charge of the Majuro weather station, Reginald White.

Guam weather officials advised "residents with respiratory health problems (to) stay indoors and avoid being outdoors when haze is seen."

Weather officials also cautioned pilots and marines to be aware of the "lower visibilities" caused by the haze from the volcanic eruptions in Hawaii.