Hawaii's Kilauea lava destroys four homes, prompts airlifts
Kilauea volcano erupted overnight, and subsequent lava flow destroyed four homes and prompted evacuations on the Big Island of Hawaii, according to the local civil defense agency.
"The flow has advanced 1,000 feet in less than one hour," Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim tweeted Saturday.
Kim's spokeswoman, Janet Snyder, said four people were airlifted from the Malama Ki Place area while three others sheltered in place overnight before fleeing Saturday. "Everybody accounted for and out of the area as of this a.m.," she said via email.
Kilauea let off a "short-lived steam explosion" around midnight, producing an ash cloud that rose an estimated 10,000 feet, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said in a statement Saturday.
Another "brief explosive eruption" was reported at 7:45 a.m. Saturday, according to the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration. "Additional explosions are possible at any time with little warning," the NOAA said in a statement.
Authorities said gas emissions from Kilauea were a serious threat for "downwind" locals. "Residents are reminded to protect themselves from ash fallout by remaining indoors," the civil defense agency stated.
Lava from Kilauea's fissure 20 flowed west of Pohoiki Road, near Malama Ki Place, where those homes were taken out, officials said. The flow isolated about 40 residences, authorities said. Residents should be ready to flee at a moment's notice, they said.
On Friday lava crossed Pahoiki, which was off-limits to motorists, but highways were unaffected, the civil defense agency stated.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was closed May 11 as its star, Kilauea, reanimated and sparked earthquakes, eruptions and lava flows.
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