News Alerts

27 May 2018 | 05:41 PM UTC

US: Lava flow from Kilauea volcano continues to spread May 26 /update 12

United States of America News Alert

Lava flow from Kilauea threatens geothermal power station on island of Hawai’i May 26; at least 82 structures damaged

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/26/2018, 12:00 AM until 6/1/2018, 11:59 PM (US/Hawaii). COUNTRY/REGION Hawaii

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Event

The Kilauea volcano (Island of Hawai'i) continues to spew ash into the air as of Saturday, May 26. Four explosions at the volcano were reported on Saturday, sending ash as high as 3700-4600 m (12,000-15,000 ft) into the air. Fissures around the volcano also continue to erupt lava around the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), new lava flow covered almost 2400 acres on Saturday. Some of the lava flow crossed into a geothermal power station that has been shut down since Kilauea started erupting on May 3. Emergency officials have confirmed that at least 82 structures have been damaged by the lava flow. Helicopter evacuations are planned for the Lower Puna area in the event that the lava cuts off access.

A "red" level aviation alert remains in effect for Kilauea as of May 26, indicating that a major volcanic eruption may be imminent. The initial decision to issue such warning, made by the US Geological Survey (USGS) on May 15, came amid intensifying ash eruptions and the production of rock projectiles from volcanic explosions. Additional lava, gas, and ash eruptions are expected at Kilauea and the East Rift Zone in the coming days. Consequent transportation disruptions and evacuations are possible in the near-term. Notably, flight disruptions due to the presence of ash in the atmosphere are possible in the coming hours and days, including at Kona International Airport (KOA).

Context

Residents on the Island of Hawai'i near the ongoing eruptions have been told to be prepared to evacuate on short notice; around 2000 people have already been evacuated in recent weeks. Several earthquakes have also shaken the area, the strongest of which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale.

Kilauea began erupting on May 3. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park has been closed since May 11 as a precaution. US President Donald Trump has declared a state of major disaster in Hawaii, making federal funding available for recovery operations.

Advice

Individuals in Hawaii are advised to avoid the affected area, monitor the situation, confirm flight reservations, follow any instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders), and wear respiratory masks and covering clothing to protect skin from ashfall in affected areas.

 

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