California fires too far away to affect isles
Will the smoke from the San Diego fires make for beautiful sunsets in Hawaii?
Answer: Beautiful sunsets are probably the last thing on most people's minds when they think of the devastating California fires.
But, regarding how the skies in Hawaii will be affected from all that smoke and ash emanating from California, the answer is probably not at all.
The fires are simply too far away, said Tom Birchard, a forecaster with the National Weather Service's Honolulu office.
"We did have some colorful sunsets this past weekend (but they were) related to high cirrus clouds over the islands," he said.
Yesterday morning, Birchard was measuring how far west the smoke, which could be viewed by satellite, was extending.
He tracked it to about 600 miles west of California, which would leave another 1,800 more miles before it would reach Hawaii.
"At that point, (the smoke) was moving due west, offshore of California, for several hundred miles, but then right now, it's actually moving north once it gets away from the coast," he told us yesterday afternoon.
Some of the smoke could end up moving back toward Central California, he said.
Birchard noted Hawaii experienced spectacular sunsets when Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted in 1991.
But, even though the California fires are intense and widespread, Mount Pinatubo's eruption was even larger, sending "ash way up into the upper atmosphere."
By comparison, the ash and smoke from the California fires are pretty much staying in the lower part of the atmosphere, he said.
"Even if it were to get caught up in the tradewind flow and head in our direction, I think it would mix out or fall out before it reached the islands," Birchard explained.
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