(BIVN) – Here is the latest information collected from different agencies, supplemented by multi-media.
Lower East Rift Zone:
Hawai County Civil Defense says a new fissure, number 17, is opening up about 100 meters below fissure 16, which opened earlier today. At this time, steam and lava spatter activity has started from this new fissure, officials say.
According to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory at 7:07 p.m. HST:
A new outbreak has been reported at 6:00 pm just east of fissure 16. Lava from this latest outbreak is actively spattering and degassing but no flow has yet formed. This area was actively steaming earlier in the day. The new fissure (17) is about a half mile northeast from the end of Hinalo Road, very close to fissure 16 that opened about 6:45 am. Activity at fissure 16 produced a lava flow that traveled about 250 yards before stalling about 2:30 pm. HVO field crews are on site and evaluating the new outbreak.
Earthquake activity, ground deformation, and continuing high emission rates of sulphur dioxide in the area indicate additional outbreaks of lava are likely as this eruption continues. The location of future outbreaks could include areas both uprift (southwest) and downrift (northeast) of the existing fissures, or, existing fissures can be reactivated. Communities downslope of these fissures could be at risk from lava inundation.
Emergency officials are cautioning about the possibility of an explosive eruption at Halema’uma’u Crater due to the ongoing withdrawal of lava from Kilauea summit lake. This could generate dangerous debris very near the crater and ashfalls up to tens of miles downwind.
According to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory:
Deflationary tilt continues. Based on this and field observations of the past two days, the lava lake level continues to drop. Over the course of the day, rockfalls from the steep enclosing 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, a few generating very localized ashfall downwind. More explosive activity generating larger ash clouds remains possible and can occur with no warning.
Earthquake activity in the summit remains elevated with several felt events at HVO today. Many of these earthquakes are related to the ongoing subsidence of the summit area and earthquakes beneath the south flank of the volcano.
A newly organized informational website about ash hazards, gas hazards, and the Lower East Rift Zone eruption can be found here.
Lower East Rift Zone:
As a precautionary measure, residents of lower Puna between Kapoho and Kalapana, are advised to be on the alert in the event of 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,” civil defense says. “Take this time to prepare.”
All beach parks in Lower Puna have been closed, including the Pohoiki Boat Ramp.
“If you evacuate voluntarily, the Pahoa Community Center and Kea’au Community Center are open,” civil defense stated. “Food will be provided and the shelters are pet-friendly. This is a precautionary message. We want everyone in the Lower Puna area to be ready, and to remain safe.”
Today, the County of Hawai’i Civil Defense Agency directed all vacation rental owners and operators in Lower Puna to cease operations. This directive is to enable emergency operations to focus on residents who live in the area, the county says.
- The Lower Puna restricted area encompasses the area accessed by Highway 132 from Leilani Estates to Kapoho, Highway 137 from Kapoho to Kalapana, and Highway 130 from Pahoa to Pohoiki, including Black Sands Beach Subdivision.
- Current vacation renters in this restricted area should find alternative accommodations outside the restricted area as soon as possible.
- Until further notice, visitors who have vacation rental reservations in the restricted area should find alternative accommodations.
- This directive is issued to owners and operators of vacation rentals within the restricted area, online advertisers of vacation rentals, current vacation renters in the area, and vacation renters with reservations.
“We welcome visitors to tour our Island,” county officials said, “and appreciate your understanding of this emergency situation. We hope you will be able to safely enjoy the many other accommodations and attractions on our Island.”
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. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice, civil defense says.
As of midnight, the Hawaii Red Cross says there were about 340 residents at the Pahoa shelter and about 40 residents at the Keaau shelter. Nearly 80 Red Cross workers have been assisting evacuees with their immediate emergency needs.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is now closed until further notice, due to the possibility of a steam-induced explosion at the summit of Kīlauea following the drop of the lava lake.
At the request of the park, the FAA has issued a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) that extends 20,000 feet AGL and a 12 nautical mile radius around the summit of Kīlauea.
Lower East Rift Zone:
- Highway 130 is closed between Malama Street and Kamaili Road.
- Pohoiki Road is closed.
- Highway 132 remains open.
Lower East Rift Zone:
- Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) has completed the removal of all pentane gas.
- The Kalapana Transfer Station is closed until further notice. The Pāhoa Transfer Station on Apaa Street is open 7 days a week, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 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, officials say.
- 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.
- United States Postal Service announced that 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.
- Hawaii Police Department is also enforcing the Federal Aviation Administration’s Temporary Flight Restriction for lower Puna area. No helicopter or drone activity is allowed without approval.
- Contact the Humane Society for animal information.
- The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Post Office has closed, mail pick up for area residents is at Volcano Village Post Office.
“The evacuated residents are going through a very difficult time. We ask for your help and understanding,” Civil Defense stated. “County, State and Federal partners continue to monitor the situation. You will be informed of any conditions that affect your safety.”