UPDATE: Small Ash Clouds Occurring, Larger Possible

Updated at 5:15 p.m.

Volcanic unrest in the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano continues.

While no lava has been emitted from any of the 15 fissure vents since May 9, earthquake activity, ground deformation, and continuing high emission rates of sulphur dioxide indicate additional outbreaks of lava are likely.

HVO officials say the location of future outbreaks is not known with certainty, but could include areas both uprift (southwest) and downrift (northeast) of the existing fissures, or resumption of activity at existing fissures. Communities downslope of these fissures could be at risk from lava inundation.

Tiltmeters at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano continue to record deflationary tilt. Based on this and field observations of the past two days, the lava lake level continues to drop.

Rockfalls from the steep crater walls have generated small ash clouds mixed with white condensed water vapor intermittently throughout the day. These ash clouds have been relatively low concentration and have risen only a few thousand feet above the ground generating very localized ashfall. More explosive activity generating larger ash clouds remains possible.

This is caused by the withdrawal of lava from Halemaumau’s summit lake, which leads to a steam-driven eruption.  Such an eruption could generate ash plumes as high as 20,000 feet.  The area affected by ash plumes could be as wide as 12 miles.

Should a large Halemaumau explosive event occur, the County of Hawai`i advises the following:

  • The danger from this eruption is ash fallout. The major response is to protect yourself from fallout.
  • If this event occurs while you are at home, stay indoors with the windows closed. Turn on your radio and listen for updates from authorities.
  • If you are in your car, keep the windows closed.  Ash fallout may cause poor driving conditions, due to limited visibility and slippery driving conditions. Drive with extreme caution, or pull over and park.

After the hazard is passed, check your home, and especially your catchment system, for any impact that may affect your water quality.

Updated at 11:15 a.m.

Hawai`i County Civil Defense issued a Friday morning precautionary message asking residents of lower Puna between Kapoho and Kalapana to be on the alert for possible gas emissions and volcanic eruption.

“Because there may be little to no advance notice to evacuate, you should be prepared to evacuate at short notice.  Take this time to prepare,” the Civil Defense messaged said.

If residents wish to evacuate voluntarily, the County evacuation shelters are located at the Pahoa Community Center or Kea’au Community Center.

Food will be provided at the shelters. Accommodations for animals are also provided at the shelter and evacuees are responsible for their care.

In addition beach parts in lower Puna have been closed, including the Pohoiki Boat Ramp.

Original story published at 7:01 a.m.

A pause in active eruption of spatter and lava along Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone continued through the night.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports, however, that earthquake activity and ground deformation continue and additional outbreaks in the general area of Leilani Estates are likely.

Overnight, earthquake activity was concentrated on the downrift (east) side of the existing Leilani fissures.

High levels of sulfur dioxide continue to be released from the fissure system.

“Deflationary tilt at the summit of the volcano continues and seismicity remains elevated. This morning, a steady plume of steam is rising from the Overlook vent. It is expected that occasional rockfalls into the deep vent will produce intermittent, low-level ash emissions,”HVO wrote in it’s Friday morning update. “Depending on wind conditions, dustings of ash may occur in the Kilauea summit area and downwind. More energetic ash emissions are possible.”

In total since the onset of the eruption 15 fissures have emerged and 117.38 acres have been covered by lava. Thirty-six structures have been destroyed.

Hawai`i County officials say that conditions permitting, Leilani Estates residents will be allowed to check on their property from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day until further notice. Residents who return to the area should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

The Civil Defense Recovery Information and Assistance Center at the Sacred Hearts Church in Pāhoa continues to be open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Highway 130 remains closed between Malama Street and Kamaili Road. Pohoiki Road is closed from Highway 132 to Highway 137 due to cracks in the road.

No access is allowed at this time for residents of Lanipuna Gardens due to dangerous volcanic gases.

The county reports that Puna Geothermal Venture  has completed the removal of all pentane.

The Kalapana Transfer Station is closed until further notice.  The Pāhoa Transfer Station on Apaa Street is open 7 days a week, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hawai‘i Electric Light reminds residents to treat all downed lines as live. Under no circumstances are you to approach or touch downed lines.

Emergency water restrictions for the Pohoiki, Vacationland and Kapoho area are still in effect while personnel work to restore service. Water spigots installed near the entrance of Lava Tree State Park and a water tanker in Vacationland are still available for the public to access.

Evacuated residents can pick up their mail at the Pāhoa Post Office.

The Hawai‘i County Police Department and the Prosecutor’s Office have established a policy of zero tolerance towards looting or vandalism. Under Emergency Provisions, any looting or vandalism will be treated as a felony.

Hawai‘i Academy of Arts and Sciences is closed for the rest of the week.

Kua O Ka La School will reopen in Hilo on  Monday.  Grades Kthrough 4 will meet at New Hope Church in Hilo, grades 5 through 12 will meet at the Boys and Girls Club in Hilo.