Kilauea Volcano rumbles, erupts: Updates

UPDATE: Monday 5/14/2018

The Hawaii State Department of Health has issued a warning regarding dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide in the eruptive area. A total of 18 fissures have opened, with fissure 17 emitting the most lava and toxic gasses. Area residents have been advised to evacuate.

Visitors are advised that there is no sightseeing permitted in the affected area. The Hawaii Volcano Observatory has issued a statement that there is an increased risk of explosive eruptions at Kilauea Volcano that could see the ejection of large boulders.

The volcanic emissions have greatly increased the risk for vog and ash exposure. People are advised to avoid the area, particularly children, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions. The Halemaumau Crater continues to emit an ash cloud that is now visible from safe. The situation remains dangerous and conditions can change rapidly without warning.

Residents and visitors alike are asked to remain vigilant in staying updated on current conditions.

UPDATE: Saturday 5/12/2018 10:30am

The Hawaii Volcano Observatory has issued a caution that there is the possibility of an explosive eruption at the Halemaumau Crater. The withdrawal of lava from the summit lake could lead to a steam-driven eruption.

Such an eruption could generate an ash cloud 20,000 feet high and disperse ash fallout to areas within 12 miles. All nonessential traffic in the area is discouraged.

A new fissure has opened in the active East Rift Zone near the Lanipuna Estates subdivision. Residents of the lower Puna District are advised to be on the alert for hazardous gas emissions and eruptive lava activity.

The Pahoa and Keaau community centers remain open to evacuees. A Civil Defense Recovery Information and Assistance Center will open Monday, May 14 at the Pahoa Community Center.

UPDATE: Thursday 5/10/2018 2:30pm

The Hawaii Volcano Observatory confirmed that there is currently no volcanic activity taking place, although hazardous fumes are still being emitted from fissures in the area. The total number of fissures in the affected area is now at 15.

More than 116 acres have been covered by lava, and the total number of destroyed remains at 36.

Parts of some roads in the area remain closed, and the Lanipuna Estates subdivision remains off-limits due to the presence of hazardous gasses.

Puna Geothermal Venture has announced that it has removed all pentane gas from its facility. The Kalapana Transfer station is closed until further notice. The Pahoa Transfer Station remains open 6:00am-6:00pm daily.

The United States Postal Service says evacuated residents may pick up their mail at the Pahoa Post Office during normal business hours.

The Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory has created a new online map of the affected area. Click here to view.

UPDATE: Wednesday 5/9/18 10:30am

Officials say two new vents have opened in the Leilani Estates subdivion, bringing the total number of active fissures to 14. Lava emissions have slowed somewhat. The fissures continue to emit highly toxic sulfur dioxide gases.

104 acres have been covered by the lava flow thus far. 36 structures have been destroyed. Residents of the area are being allowed to return to their homes to retrieve essential items between 7am-6pm daily. Registration placards for residents are available at the Recovery Information and Assistance Center that has been established at the Sacred Hearts Church in Pahoa.

All non-residents are strongly advised to avoid the affected area due to potential health and safety hazards, and to allow relief and recovery efforts to continue unhindered.

Click here for further Civil Defense updates.

http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts

Click here for further USGS and Hawaii Volcanoes Observatories updates.

https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/

UPDATE: Monday 5/7/2018 10:30am

As the Kilauea Volcano eruption continues, 35 structures in the Leilani Estates subdivision have been destroyed by the lava flow. There are now 10 active fissures emitting lava. The mandatory evacuation order remains in effect.

Residents of the subdivision are being allowed, as conditions permit, to return to their properties to retrieve essential items left behind during the initial evacuation. The County of Hawaii has issued a statement thanking residents for their cooperation during this uncertain time when resources are being allocated in the most effective manner possible.

The Hawaii Electric Light Company is working to restore and continue power to affected areas. Downed power lines should be treated as live and under no circumstances be approached. The Department of Water Supply is working to restore water service to the area and has a water truck available for public use in the Vacationland subdivision.

Access to the Lanipuna Gardens subdivision remains prohibited due to the presence of hazardous sulfur dioxide emissions from active fissures in the area.

A zero-tolerance policy has been announced by the police department and prosecutors office regarding looting and vandalism in communities affected by the volcanic eruption.

For visitors to Hawaii Island, Hawaii Civil Defense says, “Please, the residents of Leilani need your help by staying out of the area. This is not a time for sightseeing.”

UPDATE: Sunday 5/6/2018 10:00am

Hawaii Civil Defense has announced that, conditions permitting, residents of designated areas of Leilani Estates will be allowed into the subdivision to recover any vital items left on their properties in the initial evacuation due to the ongoing Kilauea Volcano eruption. These items may include pets, medicines, and vital documents.

Residents seeking to return to their properties are advised that they will need to provide identification and proof of residency at a Leilani Estates address. They must also move expeditiously, as limited numbers of residents will be granted access for limited times.

There remains a serious health risk due to the presence of hazardous sulfur dioxide gas in the area. Officials are asking all non-residents to avoid the area due to the dangers posed by the lava flow and resultant noxious gas exposure.

UPDATE: Saturday 5/5/2018 1:30pm

Dramatic video and images have been coming out of Leilani Estates as Kilauea Volcano continues to erupt from multiple fissures in the area. An active lava flow has destroyed five homes in the area.

Hundreds of residents have evacuated and shelters at the Pahoa and Keaau community centers remain open. Residents in the Leilani Estates, Nanawale Estates, Kapoho, Lanipuna Gardens, Pohoiki Estates, Green Lake Farm Lots, and Vactionland subdivisions are current under water restrictions by the Department of Water Supply.

USGS and Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory geologists have said that the current eruption resembles a 1955 eruption that carried on for months. It remains unclear when those who have evacuated will be able to return to their home. The active fissures continue to spew lava and highly toxic Sulphur Dioxide into the atmosphere with no sign of letting up.

UPDATE: Friday 5/4/2018 3:00pm

A 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the southern flank of the east rift zone of Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii Island at 12:33pm HST. Hawaii Civil Defense has announced that there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii Island or the rest of the state of Hawaii.

As the eruption continues, a mandatory evacuation order remains in effect for the affected area of the Leilani Estates subdivision in the Puna District.

Hawaii Island visitors are advised to avoid the area. Much of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is closed due to public safety concerns. Road closures and the need for accessibility of emergency services vehicles and personnel have the highest priority.

Sulphur dioxide levels are still at hazardous levels. Those with respiratory conditions are advised to stay away from the affected area.

UPDATE: Friday, 5/4/2018, 9:00am

Hawaii Civil Defense issued an alert at 4:20am this morning that confirms the ongoing eruption of Kilauea Volcano in the Leilani Estates subdivision in the Puna District. Extremely high and dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide have been confirmed in the effected mandatory evacuation area.

Schools in the area remain closed. Evacuation shelters remain open at the Pahoa Community Center and Keaau Community Center.

A temporary flight restriction is in place in the area, meaning that drone operation is prohibited. Violators face confiscation of their unmanned aerial vehicles.

There are road closures due to safety hazards on Poho’iki Road in the Puna District.

Puna Geothermal Venture power production is suspended in the area until further notice.

Multiple County, State, and Federal Agencies are assisting with evacuation efforts.

UPDATE: Thursday 5/3/16, 9:00pm

An eruption has occurred on Hawaii Island’s Kilauea Volcano in the Leilani Estates subdivision, an area of volcano’s increasingly active east-rift zone. A mandatory evacuation of the Leilani Estates subdivision in the Puna District has been ordered, Civil Defense says. Nearly 2,000 residents populate the Leilani Estates subdivision.

It is important for visitors to know that 36,000 acres of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have been closed in the interest of public safety. Further closures are not unlikely.

Witness videos of plumes of molten lava climbing 150 feet high and clouds of volcanic smoke appeared on local news broadcasts as public safety agencies scrambled to assess and respond to a rapidly changing natural event.

The American Red Cross has opened shelters at the Pahoa Community Center and the Keeau Community Center. Although some charter schools have been closed, DOE public schools remain open until further notice.

Hawaiian Airlines waived flight change fees for eligible “travelers impacted by the eruption.” The rural area of the Puna District sees relatively light visitor traffic, so most Hawaii Island visitors are unlikely to be affected by the current developments in Puna.

However, visitors and residents in the most affected areas are urged to be prepared to evacuate, with adequate supplies of food and water, medications and other essential items. A State of Emergency has been declared by Wil Okabe, the Acting Mayor of the County of Hawaii.

The situation is changing rapidly.

The past 72 hours have seen a massive cluster of earthquakes on the eastern side Big Island of Hawaii. These quakes, the largest registering at 5.0 on the Richter scale are because of increased volcanic activity at Kilauea Volcano.

The quakes have prompted concerns about a possible pending eruption, although officials say there is no imminent threat at the time of this writing.

There is a palpable concern among residents rattled by hundreds of small earthquakes mostly centered in the Puna District nearest Volcanoes National Park. They have been advised by officials that they can stay in their homes and businesses, but that they should have evacuation plans in place.

Parts of the Pu’u O’o Crater have collapsed, prompting an explosion in the area that sent a plume of pink ash into the sky. It was visible for miles before dissipating into the atmosphere. Some nearby communities experienced some ash falling as a result of the explosion. Some roads in the area have been closed due to cracking. The Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory says that Civil Defense will release their planning for a possible eruption.

More than 240 small temblors have been recorded since the increased volcanic event began. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have closed nearly 16,000 acres of the park due to safety concerns.

Most residents seem to have a wait-and-see attitude about these developments, reasoning that it’s what one should expect when living on an active volcano. A 2015 lava flow in the Puna area destroyed several structures and closed area businesses before ultimately subsiding.

Multiple agencies, including the USGS and Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory are monitoring the situation closely. With the highly advanced sensing technology available to these scientists, residents have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information available.

The volcanic activity at Kilauea has garnered national and international news and continues to lead local newscasts and headlines.