(ABOVE) This “live” thermal webcam image – taken early Friday morning as Iselle struck hardest – remains frozen on the USGS website; an apparent victim of high force winds.
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Hawaii – Hurricane Iselle left all sorts of problems in its wake, especially in the Puna area of Hawaii Island, and it looks like the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory operation can be added to the list of victims.
“HVO is recovering from the effects of Hurricane Iselle and cannot, at present, post timely updates,” wrote HVO scientists in a message to the public posted to their webpage, where the last daily update was posted on Thursday, August 7. Webcams, also, show images from Friday morning, presumably before the weather overwhelmed the USGS set-up.
“Observations from Kīlauea and Mauna Loa show no sign of changed activity,” assured the scientists. “HVO staff and other repair crews are working hard to return the Observatory to normal operations.”
“In the interim,” HVO contiuned, “staff from the Alaska Volcano Observatory and from USGS Headquarters in Reston, VA have increased satellite monitoring for volcanoes in Hawaii.”
HVO issued a clarifying media release on Monday:
Volcano and earthquake monitoring continues as the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recovers from Tropical Storm Iselle
Intermittent disruptions in eruption updates, webcam imagery, earthquake data, and other information normally available on the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website could continue for the next few days. HVO staff worked through the weekend to repair damage to the observatory’s power system that occurred during Tropical Storm Iselle, but complete restoration of the system is not expected until at least Wednesday, August 13.
According to HVO Scientist-in-Charge Jim Kauahikaua, volcanoes on the Island of Hawai‘i continue to be closely monitored. “Fortunately, Iselle caused no or little damage to our field instruments, so HVO’s monitoring network is functioning normally,” he said, “but power issues within the observatory are impairing our ability to process the data and update our website.”
As of Monday morning, August 11, Kīlauea continued to erupt at its summit and near Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō on the volcano’s East Rift Zone. The level of the summit lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u Crater was relatively steady at 35‒40 m (115‒130 ft) below the vent rim. The active East Rift Zone lava flow, which had reached 7.0 km (4.3 mi) east-northeast of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō as of August 6, the day before Iselle struck, continued to advance into forest. HVO geologists plan to map the progress of the lava flow during a scheduled overflight on Tuesday.
Should the scientists observe any significant change in volcanic or seismic activity, HVO will immediately notify Hawai‘i County Civil Defense and other emergency managers and will keep the public informed through media releases.
“For now, we appreciate your patience when visiting the HVO website. We are working as quickly as possible to fully restore our power system so that the website operates smoothly and without interruption,” Kauahikaua added.
Updates for Hawaii’s active volcanoes and earthquake data for the State of Hawaii are posted on the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website at hvo.wr.usgs.gov. You can also call (808) 967-8862 for a Kīlauea summary or email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory media release
Meanwhile, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park re-opened on Saturday, “with some closures in effect as park officials assess damage and remove fallen trees and other debris from roadways and trails following Tropical Storm Iselle,” reported the National Park Service. Power has been restored, and phones are working. Kīlauea Visitor Center and the Jaggar Museum are open and be staffed.
“Visitors should prepare for limited services and some front-country trail closures as we mobilize back into operation and continue to assess damage,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando in a media release.
Volcano House and Kīlauea Military Camp are also open.