Hawaii officials order residents to flee homes amid lava fears

01 June, 2018, 19:33 | Author: Angel Logan
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"I think it's safe to say authorities have been concerned about the flow of lava onto the plant property since the eruption started", he said.

Since the first eruption occurred in the Leilani Estates subdivision on the evening of Thursday, May 3, emergency officials believe almost 2,500 residents have been forced to evacuate as lava, flowing from numerous volcanic fissures, consumes everything in its path.

"Hawaii County Civil Defense made a decision to evacuate all of lower Puna to ensure that people would be able to get out", Stovall said.

Hawaii County officials said lava destroyed the electric utility's equipment on the highway, which knocked out power to Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots.

Civil defense officials have previously said about 2,000 residents in and around Leilani Estates were displaced at the outset of the current eruption, which began on 3 May. The Kilauea volcano has been unleashing danger on the remote, rural southeastern side of the island for almost a month, displacing thousands of residents, destroying 37 houses and forcing businesses to shut down.

The lava is bubbling from a particularly violent fissure - or volcanic crack in the Earth's surface - called Fissure 8.

More people living on the Big Island have been advised to evacuate.

Earlier on Tuesday, a small explosion of ash erupted from the summit of the volcano in a vertical plume some 15,000 feet (4,600 meters) high, the U.S. Geological Survey said, the latest outburst in a month of volcanic activity. If these lava flows reach the intersection of highways 132 and 137 a large area along the coast and highway 137 will be cut off and become completely inaccessible. Lava lobes from Fissure 8 were advancing 100 yards an hour, the USGS said. "Lava can't get hotter than where we are".

Besides the lava, there's also the danger of "vog", or volcanic smog.

Although the haze does not contain sulfur dioxide or other toxic chemicals, a NWS official told NPR the particles in the air can still be harmful to people with sensitive respiratory systems.

After weeks of scientific updates on the volcano, the U.S. Geological Survey took a lighter tone as it responded to a question on Twitter about whether it would be safe to roast marshmallows over volcanic vents.

Kilauea is the youngest and most active Hawaiian shield volcano, located on the southern part of the Island of Hawai'i, known as Big Island. If the cracks on Highway 130 would become larger or lava flows would cut off this road, the Chain of Craters Road would be the evacuation road for around 1000 people living in Kalapana southwest of the now active fissure system.

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