Hawaii's volcanic eruption has destroyed at least 5 homes, officials say

06 May 2018, 06:40 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Hawaii: evacuations ordered as Kilauea volcano erupts

Volcano erupts in residential Hawaii, evacuations underway

The Big Island is home to Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes.

"I felt like the whole side of our hill was going to explode". "The quake was what made us start running and start throwing guinea pigs and bunnies in the auto".

She's staying at a cabin with her husband and their daughter as they wait until they can return to their Leilani Estates home.

Residents about the Big Island have been utilised to watching magma fly a couple feet in to the atmosphere. The lava has burned five homes.

Kilauea began spewing lava into residential areas on Thursday after a series of earthquakes over the preceding week.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said at midday local time on Saturday that "eruptive activity is increasing and is expected to continue".

Two evacuation centers were hastily set up in Pahoa town after lava started burbling up through fissures in the ground in neighborhoods nearby. The persistent activity resulted in the level of the lava lake dropping significantly, indicating the magma was pushed into newly formed chambers. The Civil Defense Agency has told remaining residents to evacuate as there were deadly levels of unsafe sulfur dioxide gas in the air, which could obstruct or prevent rescues.

Gary McMillan said his home is about 3,00ft (914m) from one of the fissures that is spewing lava and gas into Leilani Estates. Each fissure is several hundred yards (meters) long.

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Hawaii has experienced the most powerful quake in 40 years overnight, adding further destruction to the Big Island where Kilauea is erupting. A few others are releasing steam and gas while the oldest of the vents aren't doing anything.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory confirmed that the eruption was ongoing and that the "active volcanic vents are located on Makamae, Kaupili, Mohala, Kahukai Streets and Pohoiki Road", according to an update from Hawaii County.

Tesha Montoya, 45, said toxic fumes escaping from the lava vents were not enough to make her family evacuate, but the tipping point were the earthquakes.

U.S. Geological Survey geologist Janet Babb says there were eight by Saturday morning, two more than what was calculated the night before.

State Sen. Russell Ruderman said he's experienced many earthquakes, but the magnitude-5.4 temblor that hit first "scared the heck out of me".

Scientists forecast more eruptions and more earthquakes, perhaps for months to come, after the southeast corner of the island was rocked by a 6.9 tremor on Friday, the strongest on the island since 1975.

The trifecta of natural threats forced the evacuation of more than 1,700 people from communities near the lava and prompted the closure of parks, college campuses and a section of the main road through the area on the Big Island's southern tip.



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