U.S. issues red alert for Hawaii volcanic eruption
U.S. issues red alert for Hawaii volcanic eruption
Hawaii lava flows threaten to cut off exit routes, could prompt more evacuations
16 May, 2018, 11:59
Geological Survey said ash coming from a vent near the mountain's crater "has generally increased in intensity".
The observatory warned the eruption could become more violent. This is the 20th since Kilauea began to erupt almost two weeks ago.
"Condition RED means immediate danger to health so take action to limit further exposure", the agency said in a statement.
Another new volcanic fissure has formed as the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island continues to erupt and lava from another fissure is carving a channel toward the ocean. Residents were warned to stay away as the gas could cause "choking and inability to breathe".
Officials have ordered evacuations for about 2,000 people since Kilauea volcano began shooting lava into a residential neighborhood on May 3. The lava lake is lowering, which is a concern. But water may not be entering the crater, as feared, and gas and steam may be safely venting, scientists said.
An owner of a auto rental agency on the Island of Hawaii is the subject of a widely shared video on social media, which shows lava from the Kilauea volcano engulfing his 2004 Ford Mustang and Star Wars mailbox.
So far, some 40 homes and other buildings have been destroyed by the lava that has been spewing from the volcano located on the southeastern part of Big Island.
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Most of Hawaii's destinations, restaurants and hotels are unaffected by the volcanic activity, with the exception of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - home to Kilauea - which is closed to visitors, according to USA Today.
Officials on Hawaii's Big Island have issued a Condition Red alert warning residents of risky levels of sulfur dioxide being released into the air after a new fissure opened. An evacuation has not been ordered there but might be if a local highway is cut off.
The American Red Cross said 500 people sought refuge in its shelters on Sunday night because of worsening volcanic activity.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported the fissures opened just east of the Puna Geothermal Venture energy conversion plant, where steam and hot liquid are brought up through underground wells and the steam feeds a turbine generator to produce electricity. "It seems that the system up at the summit has been what we call somewhat open, relieving that pressure", Michelle Coombs, a geologist who is the scientist-in-charge at the Alaska Volcano Observatory, told reporters in Hilo, Hawaii. A similar seismic event in 1955 lasted 88 days, he said.
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