A 5.5-magnitude explosion was recorded at Kilauea volcano (Island of Hawai'i) on the morning of Tuesday, June 5 (local time). The volcanic explosion came as lava eruptions from Kilauea destroyed hundreds of homes overnight from late on Monday, June 4, into Tuesday in the Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland areas. Lava had also completely filled Kapoho Bay as of Tuesday morning, according to scientists from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. No casualties were immediately reported from the eruptions.
A "red" level aviation alert remains in effect for Kilauea as of June 5, indicating that a major volcanic eruption is "imminent, underway, or suspected with hazardous activity both on the ground and in the air." 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).
Residents on the Island of Hawai'i near the ongoing eruptions have been told to be prepared to evacuate on short notice; thousands of people have already been evacuated in recent weeks. Several earthquakes have shaken the area, the strongest of which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale. Lava has damaged and destroyed power and telephone lines, causing associated power outages and communications disruptions.
Kilauea began erupting on May 3. Most of 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.
Individuals in Hawaii are advised to avoid the affected areas, 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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