Kirsters Baish| It was just mere hours after those living in Puna’s Leilani Estates subdivision had evacuated their homes on Thursday evening after a huge eruption in Kilauea’s east rift zone, that second eruption broke out in the early hours of Friday morning.
It was confirmed by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory that there are active volcanic vents erupting on Makamae and Mohala streets. Residents are being told to evacuate immediately.
There were more than a dozen lower level earthquakes in the area since midnight, local time, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
A resident named Ikaika Marzo was interviewed. He explained that he felt the earthquakes when they were happening during the early hours of the morning. He saw the eruption around 1:30 a.m.
The second eruption on Makamae Street happened less than a day after another eruption created a fissure in the community, spewing lava into the air as high as utility poles, covering roads and nearing several homes.
Two emergency shelters have been opened for evacuees — one at Pahoa Community and the Keaau Community centers — and a number of families had hunkered down at the facilities for the night.
Fire officials warn they’ve detected extremely high levels of dangerous sulfur dioxide in Leilani Estates and are reiterating this message: Get out of the community — if you haven’t already — and stay out until the threat has passed.
HVO said the first eruption that started in late afternoon Thursday ended about 6:30 p.m., after creating a fissure that sent lava soaring as high as 125 feet into the air. About 10:30 p.m., geologists confirmed the fissure (whose length was not immediately clear) was no longer erupting.
HVO was sure to put emphasis on the fact that new lava outbreaks are still a possibility at this time.
The observatory explained in its most recent update, “The opening phases of fissure eruptions are dynamic and uncertain. It is not possible at this time to say when and where new vents may occur. Areas downslope of an erupting fissure or vent are at risk of lava inundation. At this time, the general area of the Leilani subdivision appears at greatest risk.”
It was just a few hours after Thursday’s eruption that Governor David Ige activated the Hawaii National Guard, A state of emergency was declared and FEMA was mobilized.
Ige expressed that he hopes that residents will “stay calm” during this time.
Residents were forced to leave with just the clothes on their backs. one man explained that he grabbed his father’s ashes on his way out. “My family is safe, the rest of the stuff can be replaced,” another resident explained. “When I bought here 14 years, I knew that this day would eventually come. But the reality is sinking in now.”
I just got off the phone with FEMA and they are mobilizing resources for the Hawai`i Island lava event. They are monitoring for forest fires, power outages, and water supply disruption.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) May 4, 2018
Our prayers are with those affected by the eruptions.