Toll from Hawaiian volcano climbs to 9 homes; hundreds evacuated


New video shows lava sputtering from a fissure on Hawaii’s Big Island, where the Kīlauea volcano continues to erupt pic.twitter.com/CKbf7nxhCg

— BNO News (@BNONews) May 6, 2018

By CALEB JONES and AUDREY McAVOY | The Associated Press

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — The number of homes destroyed by lava shooting out of openings in the ground created by Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano climbed to nine Sunday as some of the more than 1,700 people who evacuated prepared for the possibility they may not return for quite some time.

“I have no idea how soon we can get back,” said Todd Corrigan, who left his home in Leilani Estates with his wife on Friday as lava burst through the ground three or four blocks from their home. They spent the night on the beach in their car and began looking for a vacation rental.

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Hawaii County civil defense officials said two new fissures opened overnight, bringing the total to nine that opened in the neighborhood since Thursday. Only one vent had active lava flow, as of Saturday night around 9:30 p.m., said Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder.

U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist Wendy Stovall said that lava was spewing as high as 230 feet into the air Saturday night.

Scientists said Kilauea was likely to release more lava through additional vents, but they were unable to predict exactly where. Leilani Estates, a subdivision in the mostly rural district of Puna, is at greatest risk. Authorities ordered more than 1,700 residents to evacuate from there and nearby Lanipuna Gardens.

Hundreds of small earthquakes continued to rumble through the area Saturday, one day after a magnitude-6.9 temblor hit — the largest earthquake to hit Hawaii in more than 40 years. Magma moving through Kilauea set off the earthquakes, said geologists, who warned of aftershocks.

Authorities cautioned sulfuric gas pouring out of the vents also posed dangers, particularly to elderly and people with respiratory problems. Hawaii County civil defense officials said conditions permitting, some residents will be able to return home briefly to pick up medicine and vital documents or take care of pets.

Tesha “Mirah” Montoya, 45, said the threat of toxic fumes wasn’t enough to make her family evacuate, but the tipping point was the earthquakes.

“I felt like the whole side of our hill was …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

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