HILO, Hawaii – An “explosive” eruption from Hawaii’s Kilauea summit sent a plume of ash soaring 30,000 feet into the air Thursday morning, filling the air with the stench of sulfur dioxide as residents nearby are being urged to shelter in place, Fox News reports.
The National Weather Service issued an ashfall advisory in effect until 8 a.m. Friday. USGS Volcanoes reported the explosion around 5 a.m. local time, showing photos at the Halemaumau crater that captured volcanic ash billowing out.
This is a Civil Defense Message for Thursday, May 17 at 7 a.m.
Due to elevated sulfur dioxide (S02) levels, Pahoa High, Intermediate, and Elementary School Complex, Keonepoko Elementary, Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science, Volcano School of Arts and Science will be closed.
County, State and Federal partners continue to monitor the situation. You will be informed of any conditions that affect your safety.
The danger from this eruption is ash fallout. The major response is to protect yourself from fallout.
If this event occurs while you are at home, stay indoors with the windows closed. Turn on your radio and listen for updates from authorities.
If you are in your car, keep the windows closed. Ash fallout may cause poor driving conditions, due to limited visibility and slippery driving conditions. Drive with extreme caution, or pull over and park.
After the hazard has passed, do check your home, and especially your catchment system for any impact that may affect your water quality.
A massive plume of ash rising from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano prompted a warning yesterday to pilots planning to fly over the area. The eruption isn’t just dangerous to people on the ground anymore — it could also bring down planes. A code red warning has been issued, as the eruption continues to intensify.
Kilauea has been spurting lava, molten rock, and poisonous gases from multiple massive fissures on the island of Hawaii since May 3rd. On Tuesday morning, the Halema’uma’u crater on Kilauea’s summit also began continuously gushing ash — creating a plume that rose up to 10,000 feet in the air. Rocks falling into the vent may be responsible for more intense ash spurts. But that’s not even the worst of it, the US Geological Survey warned: “At any time, activity may become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent.”
In addition to dangers from the bubbling, scalding-hot lava from the Kilauea volcano, residents on the Big Island of Hawaii are enduring threats from both vog and volcanic ashfall. The U.S. Geological Survey issued a “code red” for ashfall late Tuesday, due to the hazard it poses for airplanes and jets. Vog, short for volcanic smog, is the haze formed by gas and fine particle emissions from volcanoes, according to the American Meteorological Society.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory warned pilots about the gigantic ash plume by changing the aviation color code to red — which means that an eruption hazardous to air travel is happening, or could happen soon. This morning, local time, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory announced that the color code would stay red for the time being. “It sounds a little bit alarming,” USGS volcanologist Michelle Coombs said in a video statement. But the “code red” is just a warning to aviators flying by the island. “It doesn’t mean that a really big eruption is imminent,” she says. “It’s really just characterizing that aviation situation.”
Although Coombs says a big eruption is not imminent, the USGS’s Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) said in a statement that a red alert means otherwise. A red alert, according to the agency, means a “major volcanic eruption is imminent, underway or suspected, with hazardous activity both on the ground and in the air.”
— Jeff Paul (@Jeff_Paul) May 17, 2018
The Hawaii Volcano Observatory also reported “dense ballistic blocks” up to 2 feet across were found in the parking lot a few hundred yards from the Halemaumau pit crater. “These reflect the most energetic explosions yet observed and could reflect the onset of steam-driven explosive activity,” it explained.
“Deflation is ongoing,” scientists added, referring to the “deflation” of Kilauea’s caldera, or “lava bowl.” A BBC report noted this causes stress on the volcano’s base, fueling eruptions.
Hawaii officials and residents have been bracing for the potential for “larger explosions” to come nearly two weeks after one of the world’s most active volcanoes began erupting. The volcano summit and neighboring communities were hit on Wednesday with at least 125 shallow quakes that caused minor road and building damage.
We will keep you updated as more details develop.
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