Hawaii volcano threatens to cut off more residents

Hawaii volcano eruption sulphur dioxide volcanic ash Kilauea Big Island USGS

Hawaii volcano eruption sulphur dioxide volcanic ash Kilauea Big Island USGS

Homeowners who lost their homes because of the eruption of the Kilauea volcano may not be covered for the loss, even if they have insurance.

An aviation red alert means a volcanic eruption is under way that could affect aviation by spewing ash into air routes, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS) website.

Still, numerous fissures are emitting "quite a bit" of sulfur dioxide. The county issued a Condition Red alert warning people that the sulfur dioxide gasses being released pose an immediate danger to public health.

The Civil Defense Agency said risky gas was issuing from fissures near the town of Lanipuna Gardens, which has been evacuated, and urged residents to stay away. On Wednesday, The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recorded a lava temperature of 217 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meanwhile, a 20th fissure opened Tuesday morning near fissure 19 in the Lanipuna Gardens subdivision.

Two new fissures are small with not much lava coming from them, she said. The CAP mission was launched from Hilo in support of Hawai'i County Civil Defense and USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory response to the ongoing eruption.

Hawaii volcano eruption sulphur dioxide fissures
NOAAHawaii volcano NOAA satellites are tracking sulphur dioxide emissions from the volcano

Scientists had expected such explosions by the middle of this month as Kilauea's lava lake fell below the water table. This raises the unsettling possibility that Pu'u 'Ō'ō might also let loose steam blasts if groundwater enters the hot roots of the vent there. Almost 20 fissures have opened up in those two subdivisions, destroying more than two dozen homes since the eruption began May 3.

Big Island hotel bookings for summer months are off nearly 50% from previous year as daily news images of lava flows and burning homes scare off visitors to the island of 200,000 people, Rob Birch executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitor Bureau told journalists on a conference call.

Since Kilauea began erupting on May 3, almost 2,000 people have been ordered to evacuate as 18 giant fissures ripped through the area, including two new ones that opened on Sunday with ear-piercing screeches that sent lava and rocks flying.

Mass evacuations would be triggered if either highway is hit by lava, Hawaii National Guard spokesman Maj.

The phenomenon of volcanic eruptions has always been a tourism draw that is unique to the island of Hawaii, and the recent activity of the Kilauea Volcano will likely serve to be no different.

The American Red Cross said 500 people sought refuge in its shelters on Sunday night because of worsening volcanic activity. He said a similar seismic event in 1955 lasted 88 days.

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