Yesterday afternoon saw some of the heaviest vog the state has experienced in a while. Joe Manalo of Mililani set a volleyball while playing with friends at Ala Moana Beach Park.

Voggy afternoon

The volcanic haze, which is expected
to return, creates a stunning sunset

Southwesterly winds blew a thick blanket of vog to Oahu yesterday, but residents and tourists raved about the added luster that the volcanic haze brought to sunrise and sunset.

"I've never seen the city like that, sort of a red glow. It looked like we were in L.A.," said Paradise Helicopter pilot Richard Potts, who flew from Honolulu to his North Shore base just before sunset.

Karla Conrad, visiting from Lawrence, Kan., strolled along Kailua Beach yesterday morning, her first day here.

"I'm not sure what the vog is here," she said. But the sunrise was "bright red and vibrant and beautiful. (The sun) was perfectly round and orange and red. It was so clear."

National Weather Service lead forecaster Jeff Powell said Kona winds were blowing the volcanic gas from the Big Island to Oahu and other islands. Lava is flowing into the ocean at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, creating steam plumes of hydrochloric acid and glass dust particles.

Although the light southwesterly winds were expected to give way to northwesterlies today, the weather service predicted the Kona winds would return tomorrow and continue to Thursday, possibly bringing the vog back.

A dramatic sunset framed Fisherman's Wharf.

"I'm not sure if the vog will return," Powell said. "We don't have vog every time we have southwesterlies," but they are a contributing factor.

While the vog brings hazy conditions and can irritate those with breathing problems, the sulfur particles in the atmosphere also create stunning sunrises and sunsets.

Diners at Azul, the restaurant at JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa at Ko Olina on the Leeward Coast, were treated to a fabulous sunset.

The sun "was a bright, bright orange, a fiery orange," said hostess Candi Felix. "The sky around it was a pink haze color over it. It was really pretty."

Still, Felix said some patrons did not seem to appreciate it. "If anything, they're telling us to close the curtains" because the sun was shining too brightly for them, she said.

Capt. Reg White of the ship Star of Honolulu said: "Some of the most beautiful sunsets, some of the most striking, were in the periods of vog.

"It lights up the whole sky. You get fiery, cauldron-looking results. It's not the same every time."

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