The Kilauea volcano (Island of Hawai'i) erupted ash late on Thursday, May 24 (local time), sending a plume of ash some 3050 meters (10,000 feet) into the air. Authorities have warned that prevailing winds may carry the ash to communities southwest of the volcano. As of Friday, May 25, lava is continuing to erupt from fissures in Leilani Estates as the summit continues to belch ash and spew lava into the Pacific Ocean.
A "red" level aviation alert remains in effect for Kilauea as of May 25, 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).
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.
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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