After days of anticipation, a crack in Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano rift zone erupted on Thursday afternoon, forcing emergency evacuations.
About 1,700 residents of Hawaii’s Big Island were forced to leave their homes on Thursday as lava shot about 150 feet in the air, according to the Star Advertiser. No injuries or deaths have been reported from the explosions.
Major crack opens and lava comes out in leilani estates big island Hawai'i. Drone video
Posted by Jeremiah Osuna on Thursday, May 3, 2018
“It sounded like if you were to put a bunch of rocks into a dryer and turn it on as high as you could,” Jeremiah Osuna, a local resident, told Honolulu local news KHON-TV. “You could just smell sulfur and burning trees and underbrush and stuff.”
Emergency responders have set up two Red Cross relief centers for evacuees and the National Guard has been activated.
So far the lava has only spread about 33 feet from the fissure, but rumblings have continued into Friday morning.
— Kimikun (@Kimi_Aloha808) May 4, 2018
“The opening phases of fissure eruptions are dynamic,” the Hawaii Volcano Observatory said. “Additional vents and new lava outbreaks may occur and at this time it is not possible to say where new vents may occur.”
Scientists are warning people to stay calm and avoid the area as it is unclear how long the eruptions will continue.
“It’s not a stable situation at all,” Talmadge Magno of Big Island’s Civil Defense told Hawaii News Now. “This is not over, it could escalate at any time. We don’t know how this is going to go.”
The Hawaii Fire Department warned of extremely high levels of sulfur dioxide gas in the evacuation. All children, elderly people and those with respiratory ailments are urged to evacuate.