The winds were blowing here last week, 30+ mph on a consistent basis. But one afternoon the winds picked up even more and triggered dirt storms off the hills above Kawaihae.
The wind whistled down the slope from Kohala Mountain and dry dirt was gathered up, whirled around, and blasted down the slope toward the ocean. This happened for an hour or so. Sometimes, white sand from the beach in Kawaihae harbor was similarly stirred up.
The unfortunate aspect of this display was that it visibly demonstrated the problems with erosion when the ground is dry. If it’s not the wind, then any rainfall washes the soil down gullies and into the ocean. All this dirt being deposited in the relatively shallow waters off the coast degrades the water quality and can have a seriously adverse effect on corals in the area.