Kilauea explosion ash cloud reached up to 10,000 feet

A small explosion from the Halemaumau crater in Hawaii's Kilauea volcano at about midnight local time created an ash ...

Posted: May 21, 2018 4:27 AM
Updated: May 21, 2018 4:27 AM

A small explosion from the Halemaumau crater in Hawaii's Kilauea volcano at about midnight local time created an ash cloud that reached up to 10,000 feet, according to an alert from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

More explosive events like the one on Friday could make for minor amounts of ashfall downwind at any time, and volcanic ash emissions remain high.

In addition, fast-moving lava crossed a road and threatened dozens of homes, prompting National Guard helicopters to airlift residents from Hawaii's lower Puna area.

Hawaii officials warned residents in affected areas to shelter in place Friday night and await further instructions. The lava forced the closure of Pohoiki Road, cutting off at least 40 homes, the Hawaii County Civil Defense said.

The agency urged residents near Highway 137 to be ready for voluntary evacuations should the threat grow.

"With fresher, hotter magma, there's the potential that the lava flows can move with greater ease and therefore cover more area," US Geological Survey geologist Janet Babb told CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now.

Resident Ikaika Marzo said the lava flow has left him and his neighbors rattled. It sounds like 10 or 20 jets taking off from your backyard at the same time, he told the affiliate.

"It's been like hell," he said. "It's like huge grenades going off. It shakes the whole community."

Volcanic gas emissions at the summit remain high and additional explosions are possible at any time, the observatory said.

The US Geological Survey also reported Saturday that a 5.0 magnitude earthquake occurred on Big Island on Saturday evening. The USGS said the epicenter was near Kilauea.

A few hours later, two active lava flows from fissures near Kilauea Volcano joined together into one flow near Highway 137, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense.

No structures are presently threatened, but at the current rate, the lava "may cross the highway within the next five to six hours," the agency said Saturday night.

'It's hard to believe'

Steve Gebbie lives in Leilani Estates, one of the hardest-hit areas. He said watching the lava destroy homes in his subdivision has been surreal.

When the Kilauea volcano erupted May 3, he joined hundreds of others forced from their homes in the subdivision. His home is still standing, but it's surrounded by toxic gas.

"It's hard to believe that it's happened in our neighborhood," said Gebbie, who's lived in the subdivision for 12 years. "And every day has gotten worse."

The lush green jungle has turned into rotten, yellow vegetation. Sections of streets that disappeared under the lava two weeks ago now look like a river of black molten rock.

More cracks on the ground

Fissures, or cracks in the ground, are opening up, and a 23rd opened Saturday, the Hawaii Volcano Observatory said at a news conference. This newest fissure near the Kilauea Volcano is in the East Rift Zone.

The 22nd fissure was reported Friday, the observatory said. In a Saturday morning status report, the observatory said the rate of lava has increased between Friday and Saturday.

Fissure 17 is fountaining, the observatory said, and fissures 16 through 20 have merged, forming "a continuous line of spatter and fountaining." Some of the lava from fissure 20 was moving at a rate of about half a mile per hour toward the ocean Friday, observatory geologist Carolyn Parcheta said. Saturday afternoon, the observatory said the lava could cross Highway 137 in the next four to seven hours.

The lava flow from these fissures is very active and is advancing at rates up to 300 yards per hour, the observatory said. The flow from fissure 18 is moving more slowly, with fissure 17 moving even slower.

Lava has destroyed 40 structures so far, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense.

On Thursday, an eruption from the volcano's summit shot ash and smoke 30,000 feet into the air. Authorities handed out almost 18,000 masks after Thursday's explosive eruption from the Kilauea summit.

The sulfur dioxide was thick afterward near the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, enveloping the area in a dense fog that smelled of rotten eggs. In Pahoa, the earth sounded like it was cracking wide open as lava spattered and exploded from fissures.

US Geological Survey scientists said they expect the eruptions to continue.

"At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent," the agency said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 148387

Reported Deaths: 3769
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto9874101
Hinds9821198
Harrison6982110
Jackson6218119
Rankin5417102
Lee498495
Madison4711106
Forrest375086
Jones352488
Lauderdale3412145
Lafayette319749
Washington3153107
Lamar286349
Oktibbeha243562
Bolivar240884
Lowndes232864
Neshoba2189118
Panola218849
Marshall211950
Leflore203490
Pontotoc199128
Monroe196077
Sunflower191055
Lincoln187865
Warren174157
Tate166951
Union165325
Pike160958
Copiah160440
Yazoo152939
Scott151829
Itawamba151134
Coahoma149543
Pearl River149467
Alcorn148228
Simpson146353
Prentiss143730
Adams139250
Grenada138845
Leake133243
Holmes127861
Tippah123730
George123524
Covington120938
Winston120024
Hancock117639
Wayne116923
Marion114846
Attala111234
Tishomingo108742
Chickasaw106932
Newton104229
Tallahatchie96727
Clay89927
Clarke89153
Jasper81722
Walthall76028
Stone75214
Calhoun73713
Montgomery72825
Carroll71415
Lawrence70714
Yalobusha70527
Smith70316
Noxubee70017
Perry65826
Tunica60219
Greene59722
Claiborne57916
Jefferson Davis56017
Humphreys53119
Amite52714
Benton49017
Quitman4846
Webster42314
Kemper42118
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34711
Franklin3345
Choctaw3157
Sharkey30817
Issaquena1144
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 241957

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31809500
Mobile19651361
Madison12964148
Tuscaloosa12946154
Montgomery12263236
Shelby1016177
Baldwin857698
Lee771866
Morgan648050
Calhoun6215119
Etowah618266
Marshall618255
Houston522438
DeKalb480436
Cullman433442
Limestone418645
St. Clair413655
Elmore403764
Lauderdale396754
Walker3620111
Talladega347954
Jackson311723
Colbert306042
Blount287940
Autauga270442
Franklin250233
Coffee242015
Dale231754
Dallas225232
Russell22123
Chilton220638
Covington218034
Escambia197931
Chambers176450
Tallapoosa175491
Pike158114
Clarke157619
Marion137136
Winston131123
Lawrence126336
Pickens121618
Geneva12108
Marengo120224
Barbour117010
Bibb117017
Butler115341
Randolph101921
Cherokee101024
Hale96031
Clay91024
Washington90719
Fayette89316
Henry8526
Lowndes79429
Monroe78311
Cleburne76914
Macon73022
Crenshaw70930
Bullock69419
Conecuh68314
Perry6836
Lamar6678
Wilcox63118
Sumter57522
Greene42318
Choctaw42113
Coosa3414
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
57° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 57°
Columbus
Overcast
58° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 58°
Oxford
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 54°
Starkville
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 54°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather