Monday, 23 July, 2018

Hawaii volcano eruption: Residents warned about sulfur dioxide exposure

Fourth volcanic vent opens in Leilani Hawaii volcano eruption: Residents warned about sulfur dioxide exposure
Leonard Rios | 05 May, 2018, 13:21

More than 1,700 people were evacuated from Big Island neighborhoods after the Kilauea volcano erupted Thursday. "It was like that just about all night long", said Chris Burmeister, who lives in Leilani Estates.

"It is more than just a loss of a home", Kim said at a news conference today.

The Hawaii County Civil Defense asked residents in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens to evacuate to a local community center, which is serving as a shelter.

Residents on the Big Island are now being warned about the exposure to high levels of sulfur dioxide from the lava, a gas that can cause intense coughing and burning throats.

When two earthquakes rocked Hawaii's Big Island on Friday, May 4, Tammy Wolbers of Monmouth, Illinois says she felt them both.

The event has been building for several days, Babb said, and the tremors were a sign that magma could break through the surface at any time.

Drone footage of the volcanic eruption on Hawaii's Big Island showed orange magma gushing up from cracks in the ground in a wooded area. Shortly afterward, he saw a video on social media showing lava splashing and bubbling a few feet from his home, he told CNN affiliate KITV.

"We have to work with them as to how we are going to minimize (the inconveniences) as best as possible", he said. She said they are set to fly back home to IL on Monday night.

Stephen Clapper was one of the evacuees.

Hawaii volcano eruption: Residents warned about sulfur dioxide exposure

We were evacuated a couple of hours ago and we are now with friends. "You know, pack a bag and be ready to leave". "One and done, we don't need to go through this again".

The new volcanic activity in Mt Kilauea's lower east rift zone amounted to "vigorous lava spattering", the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, adding that additional outbreaks in the area were likely. The USGS said Friday's 6.9 quake was the most powerful on the island since 1975. Spokeswoman Rhea Lee-Moku said power has been restored to about half of the customers, but sulfur gas levels in some areas are beyond what Hawaii Electric Light deems safe so they can not work in those places.

"It's a situation worth monitoring very closely", she said. People reported almost constant ground shaking in the area due to the frequency of temblors in the past several days.

Hawaii Electric Light said the jolt knocked out power to about 14,400 customers, but electricity was restored about two hours later.

Destructive molten flows weren't the only concern. Early Friday morning, Civil Defense also said that the fire department had detected "extremely high levels of risky Sulfur Dioxide gas in evac area". Volcanic eruptions can release potentially risky sulfur dioxide.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said in a statement he's activated the state's National Guard "to provide support to county emergency response personnel to help with evacuations and security".

Communities in the mostly rural Puna district, which sits on Kilauea's eastern flank, know it is one of the world's most active volcanoes and have seen its destruction before.

The agency deployed geologists to the eruption site overnight to track additional activity that may occur, and other scientists are closely tracking the volcano's overall activity.

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