(BIVN) – The latest information about the ongoing volcanic eruption of Kilauea was shared today during a conference call just before noon.
Once again, scientists participating in the call with media: USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist Steve Brantley, USGS research chemist David Damby, and John Bravender with the NOAA National Weather Service.
- Lava flows from fissure 17 have advanced little over the past day. Field crew estimates are an advance of only 100 yards.
- HVO field crews are on site tracking the lava flow and spattering from multiple fissures as conditions allow and reporting information to Hawaii County Civil Defense.
- Due to an interruption in trade winds, volcanic gas emissions remain elevated throughout the area downwind of the vents in lower Puna. The Hawaii Fire Department reports that air quality is still condition RED around fissures in the southeast area of Lanipuna Gardens and surrounding farm lots on Pohoiki Road.
- The National Weather Service in Honolulu cancelled the Ash Advisory for Ka’u. However, in a special weather statement, forecasters said “light upslope winds may carry ash across portions of Kau, Puna, and North and South Hilo Districts up to 10,000 feet. In the event of a more significant eruption, an Ashfall Advisory or Warning may be necessary.”
- A number of earthquakes, a few as high as a Magnitude 4.0 (one was a 4.4), have been felt around the summit. None has been strong enough to trigger a tsunami.
Today, Governor David Ige announced the formation of a Dual-Status Command, Joint Task Force 50 (JTF) in response to the Kilauea eruption. The governor’s request to appoint Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara was submitted on Tuesday, May 15 and approved by Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis earlier today.
According to the governor’s office:
The formation of this JTF establishes a clear chain of command to maintain operational unity between state and federal efforts and increase efficiency. For example, Gen. Hara now has the authority to command both the National Guard and active military forces to plan for and be ready to execute those plans should roadways in Puna be lost to lava and a mass air evacuation is necessary.
“I thank Secretary Mattis for his quick approval. This joint military task force will provide the necessary state and federal resources to Mayor Kim and his Civil Defense team. Together, we are committed to supporting the residents of Hawaiʻi Island in their time of need,” said Gov. Ige.