Trade winds getting blocked later than usual

Trade winds getting blocked later than usual

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The satellite screens at the National Weather Service show the low-pressure system taking a bite out of our trade winds. Meteorologist Robert Ballard said it's a bit unusual to have this happening at this time of year.

"For this late in the season, it's a long stretch without trades," he said. "What we're seeing right now is more of a winter time or wet season pattern."

That should be gone by May.  Any trade wind interruption makes it onto the radar of University of Hawaii climatologist Pao-Shin Chu. He said the state averages per year about 240 to 250 days with Northeast trades. But history shows a pattern.

"On average we are losing about one trade wind day per year," he said.

Southerly winds carry vog to Oahu. Queen's Medical Center pulmonologist Dr. Alvin Furuike's patients don't have to see it to feel it.

"A lot of their complaints are more the eyes are burning. They may be sneezing a little bit more. Some chest tightness but most of it is upper respiratory and the eyes," he said.

Ballard said it may feel like trade wind interruptions are more frequent and longer this year, but it's not record-breaking.

"In 2011 we had an episode like this. We had another episode like this in 2000, and there's probably been others as well," he said.

Chu said over the next several years, the number of trade wind days may continue to decrease. But he has a brighter outlook for the months ahead.

"Summer is coming. So we expect to see more steady trade winds," he said.

Weather experts said during summer months, trade winds blow 90 percent of the time. We can hardly wait.

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