Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Hawaii Lava-Flows Accelerate, Over 80 Structures Destroyed

Hawaii Lava-Flows Accelerate, Over 80 Structures Destroyed, Tourist Bookings Tumble 50%

Officials in Hawaii County have been going door-to-door on several streets in the Leilani Estates subdivision on The Big Island, warning residents to flee as fast-moving lava from the Kilauea volcano coursed towards the area. Despite being under an evacuation order, several residents have been holding out and refusing to leave their homes.

Lava has destroyed at least 82 structures, including 37 homes - while just hours after authorities went door-to-door, an explosive eruption shot a plume of ash over 14,000 feet into the air according to the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Afternoon #HVO #Kilauea update, May 28: Fissure 8 lava flow reached Pohoiki Rd. in AM & stalled. @ 1 pm, Fissures 8, 18, 20, 22, 6/13, & 7/21 active; high fountains at 7/21. Gas emissions v. high. Intermittent ash eruptions at summit.
— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) May 29, 2018

The plume was "largely vertical with slight northwest drift," the agency said on Twitter, and people in the area "may experience ash fall" as a result.
"Kind of disturbingly, some people just refused to leave," said Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno. "We had one gentleman that had to be kind of rescued. His only way out was through his back door and through the forest."

Several fissures continue to spew hot, fast moving lava which has blocked roads. 
Meanwhile, a 4.5 magnitude earthquake hit the Hilina region of Kilauea volcano situated southwest of the Leilani Estates, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center on Oahu. The earthquake was preceded by between 250 and 270 earthquakes at Kilauea’s summit over the weekend, with four explosions on Saturday sending ash to altitudes as high as 12,000-15,000 feet, said Stovall and National Weather Service meteorologist John Bravender.

Monitoring #KÄ«lauea eruption from space, #Sentinel5P detected sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions & lava (hot spots) coming out the volcano. The 2 images show SO2 emissions on 6 and 15 May:
— ESA EarthObservation (@ESA_EO) May 29, 2018

Of great concern has been the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) plant, where which molten lava has already reached, covering two wells. Authorities believe the lava has stopped, however, and that the power plant itself will be safe. 

Aerial footage from Hawaii shows lava encroaching on a geothermal plant. As of Friday, the oozing lava had destroyed 82 structures on the Big Island.
— CNN (@CNN) May 28, 2018

At least three major cruise lines - Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, have canceled a stop at the Big Island, while several airlines have reported Hawaii-bound seat cancellations according to Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO George Szigeti. Both Hawaiian and Japan Airlines, however, said that all flights were operating as scheduled, though Hawaiian Airlines experienced a "moderate drop in bookings for close-in travel to the island of Hawaii," according to the NYT
According to Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, lodging and tour bookings are down 50% for May to July
Hotels and authorities are desperately trying to reassure guests the Big Island is safe. They point out that the island is as big as Delaware and Rhode Island combined, and the lava flows are more than 30 miles away from most tourist areas. -USA Today

No comments: