On Tuesday, May 15, the US Geological Survey (USGS) elevated the volcano alert level for Kilauea to "Red/Warning," indicating that a hazardous eruption with a significant emission of ash is "imminent, underway, or suspected." The announcement comes as ash eruption at Kilauea intensified on Tuesday, with emitted ash reaching up to 3657.6 meters (12,000 feet) above sea level; ashfall and volcanic air pollution have been recorded as far as Pahala, some 29 km (18 mi) from Kilauea. According to the USGS, activity at Kilauea may become more explosive at any time, with an intensification of ash emission and production of "ballistic projectiles" possible in the near-term. State officials have cautioned residents that evacuations may be called with little or no advanced warning in the coming hours and days. Transportation disruptions (including flight delays and cancelations) and power outages due to ashfall are possible on the Island of Hawai'i in the event of a major eruption of ash.
Since Kilauea began erupting on May 3, lava eruptions have destroyed dozens of homes and forced the evacuation of some 2000 people from Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens. On May 11, US President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in Hawaii over the ongoing eruption of Kilauea, making federal funding available for state and local recovery operations. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park also closed on May 11 due to the possibility of explosive steam-driven eruptions and consequent ashfall at Kilauea; most of the park remained closed as of May 14.
Hundreds of earthquakes ranging from magnitudes 2 to 5 have reportedly rocked the island since April 30. On May 4, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck approximately 16 km (10 mi) southwest of Leilani Estates. The earthquake was the largest to strike the Island of Hawai'i in decades.
Kilauea volcano is one of Hawaii's most active volcanoes. It is located on the Hawai'i island of the state of Hawaii.
Individuals present in or intending to travel to the affected area are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel reservations, follow any instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders), and wear respiratory masks and covering clothing to protect skin in the event of an eruption of abrasive ash.