Screenshot of the HVO Observation Tower webcam on May 17, 2018. Image: U.S. Geological Survey

Video: Explosive eruption in Hawaii prompts ashfall advisory

Explosive eruption at Kilauea summit; ashfall advisory in effect

Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Update: 8:10 a.m.

A U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist described the pre-dawn explosive eruption at the summit of Kilauea as “short-lived” and not having a “widespread impact.”

Scientists Michelle Coombs said at a morning news conference at Hawaii County Civil Defense headquarters in Hilo that the event, which sent a cloud of ash and smoke up to 30,000 feet high, was “consistent with what we were thinking might happen.” She said the ashfall was localized.

She said it was a “real dynamic situation up there” on the summit, and that similar explosive events are still possible.

Coombs called the 4:17 a.m. eruption as the “the biggest so far” at the summit and that it may have relieved pressure temporarily in the caldera at Halemaumau Crater.

Although she could not say with certainty, Coombs said that the event appeared consistent with the dropping lava lake hitting ground water, as geologists have been expecting.

Update: 7 a.m.

Continuous ash emissions from Halemaumau crater are reaching as high as 12,000 feet. The earlier explosive eruption produced an ash cloud that reaches as high as 30,000 feet and is drifting to the northeast.

Staffs for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park had previously evacuated Kilauea summit.

Update: 6:20 a.m.

Scientists reported an “explosive eruption” at the summit of Kilauea volcano shortly before 4:20 a.m. today that ejected a large plume of ash in the air, and authorities urged residents in the path of the ash to shelter in place.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that that the explosive eruption at Kilauea summit occurred at 4:17 a.m. Agency officials said the wind may carry the resulting ash plume north toward Kau, Volcano, Mountain View, Kea’au and as far as Hilo.

Hawaii County Civil Defense issued the alert at 5:26 a.m., and warned that “the resulting ash plume will cover the surrounding area.”

Linda Ugalde, a 20-year resident of Volcano, said she heard and felt nothing, but stepped outside of her home at the Volcano Golf Course subdivision about 10 minutes after the alert to find a film of dark gray ash coating the railing on her lanai and the plants in her garden and yard. She compared it to the ash from a fireplace “except smaller.”

“Yesterday was not like this,” she said of the ash. “I had let my dogs out, and I immediately went out to let them back in.”

An ash plume from the caldera was visible from her home about two miles away from the Halemaumau crater, but Ugalde said it appeared to be a smaller cloud than Tuesday’s plume that shot ash some 12,000 feet into the air.

“It’s totally weird,” she said. “I mean, I expected there would at least be one of the bigger earthquakes just before, or a boom or something.”

As Ugalde watched from outside her house, she said the plume above the trees began to spread and moved over her home. “It could be mistaken for a rain cloud…but it’s getting more puffy, bulbous, whatever at the bottom,” she said.

“I’m not going to evacuate, we’ll shelter in place,” she said. She and her husband Edward have an enclosed cement catchment water tank and have already sealed it off.

Update: 6:07 a.m.

The National Weather Service amended their earlier ashfall advisory to end at noon today instead of 8 a.m. Friday. New radar measurements estimate the volcanic ash plume to reach 30,000 feet.

Update: 5:30 a.m.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that an explosive eruption at Kilauea’s summit has occurred and expects the resulting ash plume to cover the surrounding area. The agency advises people in the path of the ash plume to shelter in place.

Driving conditions in the area may be dangerous and drivers are advised to pull off the road until visibility improves, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense.

—-

Original: 5:17 a.m.

A Kilauea Volcano ash plume estimated by radar at a height of 25,0000 feet prompted a new ashfall advisory for parts of Hawaii island through 8 a.m. Friday.

Volcanic ash is expected to reach the region to the southwest and west of the Kilauea Volcano Summit (Halemaumau Crater), including cities of Wood Valley, Pahala, Punaluu, Naalehu, and Hawaiian Oceanview Estates, the National Weather Service said in an advisory.

Ash accumulation less than one-quarter of an inch is possible over the advisory area. Eye and respiratory irritants with low-level impacts for most people.

More to come.

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