UPDATE: 7:50 a.m.
Hawaii County Civil Defense says another fissure, the 18th, erupted this morning in the Lanipuna Gardens subdivision between No. 15 and 16.
They are advising any Lanipuna residents who remain in the area to be alert for gas emissions and active eruptions. The area, along with nearby Leilani Estates, remains under an evacuation order.
Civil Defense also noted that no helicopter or drone activity is allowed in the area without approval.
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory also reported early this morning that fissure 17 continues to be active with a narrow lava flow slowly moving toward the ocean about two miles away. This flow is not threatening any homes or roads at this time.
In other volcano developments today:
>> Officials say Keonepoko Elementary, Pahoa High, Intermediate and Elementary Schools are open. Normal school bus routes are operating today.
>> Highway 132 is closed at Pohoiki Road and a checkpoint has been set up on Highway 130 by Pahoa High School. Only local traffic is being allowed beyond any roadblocks.
The number of residents who have evacuated because of Kilauea volcano’s eruption and are staying at two emergency shelters in Puna is rising, the Hawaii Red Cross said today.
At midnight, there were 484 people at a shelter at the Pahoa Community Center and 25 at a shelter at the Keaau Community Center, the Red Cross said.
On Friday, the Red Cross said there were about 150 residents at the Pahoa shelter and 30 residents at the Keaau shelter.
Hawaii County Civil Defense is urging Lower Puna residents to voluntarily evacuate or prepare to evacuate because of the volcanic activity.
An eruption could damage roads in the area, isolating Lower Puna residents, Civil Defense said.
>> 2 more fissures open as scientists look for signs of a more aggressive flow
>> Evacuees get a brief respite from Kilauea’s eruption
>> Photos: Residents prepare for the worst as more fissures open
>> Photos: Tourists stay despite eruption threats from Kilauea
SUNDAY, MAY 13
HILO >> A new fissure that opened today in the lower East Rift Zone in Puna has already claimed one structure, a spokeswoman for Mayor Harry Kim said.
Janet Snyder, spokeswoman for Kim, said it was unclear whether the destroyed structure was a home, but the loss brings the tally for structures destroyed since this eruption began May 3 to 37.
She said the residents in the area of the latest fissure were ordered to evacuate, and all residents got out safely.
Lava covered the road in that area and came close to two houses.
Snyder said county officials were notifying people in the area along Highway 132 known as “Four Corners” that they should evacuate. She said the evacuation was not yet mandatory.
Snyder said if the fissures continue opening up in the same linear path previous fissures have been following, Highway 132 could be be cut off by lava flows, making access out of Lower Puna more difficult for residents. The lava breakouts could eventually extend all the way to the coastline, she said, which could cut off Highway 137 and isolate Lower Puna residents.
In addition, Snyder said the chemistry of the lava is changing, possibly allowing for fresher, faster lava flows.
Lab results show the composition of fissure 16, which opened up Saturday morning, was half magma matching an old lava flow in 1955 and half new magma. The old lava was viscous and slow-moving, while the new lava is expected to be faster-moving, creating higher eruptions and larger flows.
Some on social media who saw the eruption said it appeared more explosive than recent breakouts with lava spatter reaching 300 to 400 feet into the air.
The latest fissure off Halekamahina Loop Road is several hundred yards long and producing lava spatter, said the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Lava is slowly moving away from the vent.
Continued earthquake activity and additional outbreaks in the area are likely.
Highway 132 is closed at the Pohoiki Road intersection. Only local traffic is allowed on Highways 132 and 137.
Highway 130 is closed at the intersection with Highway 132. Only local traffic is allowed into the Leilani subdivision, and Highway 130 is closed between Malama Street and Kamaili Road.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said fissure 18, first reported this morning, has been renamed fissure 17.
Fissure 17, reported Saturday evening, didn’t erupt lava.
Lava spatter and gas emissions continue at the latest fissure on Halekamahina Loop Road to the west of Highway 132. It is on private property, and the public is asked to not trespass.
Residents in the area have been ordered to evacuate.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said there are lava spatter and gas emissions occurring at the 18th fissure.
Highways 132 and 137 remain open today to local traffic.
Residents of Halekamahina Loop Road have been ordered to evacuate this morning after an 18th fissure was verified by the Department of Public Works and police.
The fissure is to the west of Highway 132 on Halekamahina Loop Road. Steam and lava spatter activity have started at the new fissure.
The Pahoa Community Center and Keaau Community Center are open. Food will be provided and both shelters are pet-friendly.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported that an earthquake occurred at 11:54 p.m. Saturday offshore of the Kalapana region of Kilauea Volcano, magnitude 4.3.
No tsunami is expected; however, some areas may have experienced shaking.
SATURDAY, MAY 12
A 16th fissure opened up east of Leilani Estates on Saturday, the subdivision evacuated after the first lava flows May 3.
The Civil Defense on Saturday ordered all vacation rentals in the area to cease operations, forcing visitors to find alternate accommodations and adding to tourism industry losses from the Kilauea eruption. Officials said the move was necessary so emergency operations could focus on residents who live in the area.
“We welcome visitors to tour our island and appreciate your understanding of this emergency situation,” the county said in a statement. “We hope you will be able to safely enjoy the many other accommodations and attractions on our island.”
A new eruption, first reported as fissure 17, began at about 6 p.m. Saturday in the lower East Rift Zone, east of the Puna Geothermal Venture plant and northwest of the Lanipuna Gardens subdivision. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the latest outbreak was spattering and emitting gases but that no lava flow had formed.
It is about a half-mile northeast from the end of Hinalo Street, close to fissure 16, which opened at about 6:45 a.m. Saturday. In the afternoon, fissure 16 was spitting lava 100 feet in the air while emitting a loud venting sound and low thunderous rumble. HVO reported its lava flow traveled about 250 yards before stalling.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said it’s possible there may be an explosive eruption at Halemaumau Crater due to the ongoing withdrawal of lava from the Kilauea summit lake. This could generate dangerous debris near the crater as well as ashfalls up to tens of miles downwind.
Due to the volcanic activity, the following are issued:
>> Under Emergency Provisions, any looting or vandalism during an emergency is treated as a felony.
>> The Hawaii Police Department is enforcing the Federal Aviation Administration’s temporary flight restriction for Lower Puna area. No helicopter or drone activity is allowed without approval.
>> Residents of Lower Puna between Kapoho and Kalapana are advised to be on the alert in the event of possible gas emissions and volcanic eruption. There may be little to no advance notice to evacuate, so take this time to prepare.
>> If you evacuate voluntarily, the Pahoa Community Center and Keaau Community Center are open. Food will be provided and the shelters are pet-friendly.
Star-Advertiser reporter Rob Shikina contributed to this report from Hawaii island.