UPDATE: Lava Crosses Highway 137, Enters Ocean

Update at 11:30 p.m.

Flow front #1 has reportedly crossed Highway 137 at the 13-mile marker and has entered the ocean.

Hawai`i County Civil Defense reports that flow front #2 is approximately 400 meters from Highway 137.

Highway 137 is closed between Kamaili Road and Pohoiki Road.  Kamaili Road is closed between Highway 130 and Highway 137.

Residents in the area have been evacuated.  All persons are asked to stay out of the area.

The lava has entered the ocean.  Be aware of the laze hazard and stay away from any ocean plume.

  • Laze is formed when hot lava hits the ocean sending hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air.
  • Health hazards of laze include lung, eye and skin irritation.
  • Be aware that the laze plume travels with the wind and can change direction without warning.

Updated at 9:20 p.m.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that as of 9 p.m., the flow originating from fissure 20 has again split into two lobes, both are currently heading in the general direction of the 13 mile marker on Highway 137.

Flow front #1 is approximately 630 meters from Highway 137 and moving about a 100 meters per hour, according to Hawai`i County Civil Defense.

It has also been reported by Civil Defense that flow front #2 is approximately 750 meters from Highway 137 and moving about the same speed.  At the current rate, the lava flow may cross the highway within the next five to seven hours.

Highway 137 is closed between Kamaili Road and Pohoiki Road.  Kamaili Road is closed between Highway 130 and Highway 137 due to a brush fire.  Residents in the area have been evacuated.

Updated at 5:30 p.m.

Eruption of lava and ground cracking in the area of Leilani Estates subdivision continues, according to a 4:45 p.m. update from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Beginning Friday and into Saturday, the rate of lava eruption has increased.

Fissure 17 is weakly active now, and Fissures 16 through 20 have merged into a continuous line of spatter and fountaining. Flows from the consolidated Fissure 20 crossed upper Pohoiki road late Friday afternoon and continued flowing southward.

Saturday afternoon two flows from the merged fissure complex have joined less than a mile from the coast and continue to flow southward between Pohoiki and Opihikao Roads. The lava flow from Fissure 18 is stalled.

Officials say It is unknown whether the flows will continue to advance, or stop, and new lava flows are likely given the rate of activity seen at the rift zone. Volcanic gas emissions remain very high.

Magma continues to be supplied to the lower East Rift Zone; however, a GPS instrument near the Lower East Rift Zone is no longer moving suggesting that the rift zone is no longer inflating in this area. Elevated earthquake activity continues, but earthquake locations have not moved farther downrift in the past couple of days.

Small ash emissions from the Overlook crater have occurred intermittently on Saturday. Moderate trade winds were blowing to the southwest and noticeable ashfall may happen in downwind locations.

Additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ashfall downwind are possible at any time. Volcanic gas emissions at the summit remain high.

Updated at 2 p.m.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continues to monitor active flows in state forest reserve lands and heading in the general direction of MacKenzie State Park.

No residents are threatened at this time.  Residents should be aware that the lava flow is currently .8 miles from Highway 137 and, at the current rate, may cross the highway within the next four to seven hours.

Due to the volcanic activity, the following are in effect:

  • Residents between Kamaili and Pohoiki are advised to decide if they want to voluntarily leave the area at this time.
  • For those who choose to voluntarily evacuate, the Pahoa Community Center, Keaau Community Center, and Sure Foundation Church are open. The shelters are pet friendly.
  • All persons are asked to avoid the area.
  • Stay alert to messages issued by your Civil Defense Agency.
  • The Fire Department and HVO will be actively monitoring the flows by helicopter.

Highway 130 is open for residents only. A closure may occur at any time with no notice.

Should the lava cross, Highway 137 will be closed to through traffic. Road blocks will be established on both sides of the roadway should the flow cross the highway, per Hawai`i County Civil Defense.

Should the lava enter the ocean be aware of the laze hazard and stay away from any ocean plume. Laze is when hot lava hits the ocean sending hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air.

Photo: Helicopter overflight of Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift zone on May 19, around 8:18 AM, HST. ‘A‘ā lava flows emerging from the elongated fissure 16-20 form channels. The flow direction in this picture is from upper center to the lower left. USGS photo.

Updated at 12:30 p.m.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continues to monitor active flows including two west of Pohoiki Road and two east of Pohoiki Road.

The two flows on the west of Pohoiki are moving up to 900 feet per hour.  The eastern flows are moving slowly.

Original story published at 9:29 a.m.

Eruption of lava and ground cracking in the area of Leilani Estates subdivision continues.

Beginning on Friday and continuing overnight, the rate of lava eruption has increased, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

As of 9:16 a.m., fountaining was occurring at Fissure 17, and Fissures 16-20 have merged into a continuous line of spatter and fountaining.

Flows from the consolidated Fissure 20 crossed upper Pohoiki road late Friday afternoon and continued flowing southward.

On Saturday morning, the wide flow is very active and is advancing at rates up to 300 yards per hour.

A second flow from the same fissure complex is also flowing southward between Pohoiki and Opihikao Rds.

The lava flow from Fissure 18 continues to advance more slowly. Fissure 17 and its flow are still active but the flow is advancing even more slowly. It is unknown whether the flows will continue to advance, or stop, and new lava flows are likely given the rate of activity seen at the rift zone, according to HVO officials.

Additional ground cracking and outbreaks of lava are possible in the area. Residents downslope of the region of fissures should heed all Count of Hawaii Civil Defense messages and warnings.

Magma continues to be supplied to the lower East Rift Zone; however, the GPS instrument near Pu`u Honua`ula is no longer moving suggesting that the rift zone is no longer inflating in this area. Elevated earthquake activity continues, but earthquake locations have not moved farther downrift in the past couple of days.

Photo: Image from May 18. View of the fissure system in Leilani Estates looking southwest (uprift). Fissure 17 is the lava fountain at bottom of photo, estimated to be about 50 m (164 ft) high with occasional bursts to about 100 m high (328 ft). Fissure 18 is the low fountain left of center feeding a lava flow that spreads out of view on left (south). Fissure 20 is in middle of photo, also feeding a lava flow. Note activity further uprift of fissure 20 (field reports suggest that this is fissure 15).

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