UPDATE: 7:45 a.m.
Weather officials expect winds to shift more easterly or southeasterly this morning through Saturday morning, pushing ash to the west and northwest of Kilauea.
Trace amounts of ash and Pele’s hair is expected to fall over northern Kau, Puna, South Hilo and the Saddle area, the National Weather Service said.
Friday 5 a.m.
Another small explosion occurred early this morning at Kilauea’s summit and generated a moderate ash plume.
The explosion occurred at 2:44 a.m. and was accompanied by a magnitude 5.2 earthquake centered 4 miles southwest of Volcano at a depth of 1 kilometer, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The ash plume that followed reached less than 10,000 feet.
No tsunami was generated.
Thursday 5 p.m.
Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim says lava from Kilauea volcano has destroyed more than 600 homes since early last month.
Kim told reporters in Hilo today the total includes about 320 homes in the coastal community of Kapoho. It also includes all homes in Vacationland.
Kilauea began erupting lava in a residential community on May 3. Lava has since been pouring out of large fissures in the earth and down to the ocean.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige says the state was giving the county $12 million to help it respond to the eruption.
He says it will help pay for overtime, food and equipment, noting county employees have been working an around-the-clock operation for almost 40 days.
While a mandatory evacuation order continues for Leilani Estates, Pomaikai Street and to the east, Hawaii County Civil Defense today lifted the curfew west of Pomaikai.
Access is being limited to residents with credentials only.
A community meeting on volcanic ash and vog will be held tonight in Volcano at the Cooper Center at 7 p.m.
In just three days, lava has destroyed close to 500 homes at Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots in Pahoa.
“It hurts like hell,” said Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim at a briefing with emergency responders at the Hawaii County Civil Defense building early today. “What we lost is the most beautiful place on earth.”
Lava has overrun all of Vacationland where there were approximately 150 to 160 homes. At Kapoho Beach Lots, approximately 320 of 350 homes there are gone.
Civil Defense Spokeswoman Janet Snyder said Kim estimated a minimum of $5 million a mile is needed to repair destroyed roads.
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Lava fountaining at fissure 8 fluctuated overnight, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials said, reaching heights up to 230 feet.
The activity from fissure 8 continues to feed a lava channel flowing east to Kapoho Bay. Although the northern lobe of the fissure 8 flow is not receiving significant quantities of lava and the formerly active lobe on the west side of the Four Corners cinder pit is now inactive, lava is entering the ocean along a broad front around Kapoho Bay and Vacationland.
No other fissures are active.
“Vigorous” lava eruptions continue in the lower East Rift Zone this morning as fissure 8 remains very active, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense.
Lava entering the ocean along the Kapho coastline continues to produce a large laze plume.
Lava continued to fountain at fissure 8 Wednesday night, reaching heights between 130 to 210 feet.
Meanwhile, downstream, lava continued to enter the ocean in the Vacationland subdivision. However, lava from the main channel flowing into Kapoho was not feeding the northern lobe as of 3 a.m. today.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6
An ash eruption at the Kilauea summit sent a plume of ash some 10,000 feet into the air late this afternoon.
The eruption, which scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory predicted earlier in the day, occurred at about 4:10 p.m.
HVO officials said southwesterly winds could send ash to the Volcano and Pahala areas.
Hawaii County Civil Defense is advising residents who are already at home to stay indoors with the windows closed. Those outside should seek cover. People in cars should keep the windows closed. Ash fallout could also cause poor driving conditions, so drivers are advised to drive with extreme caution or to pull over and park
Once the hazard has passed, residents should check their homes and catchment systems, civil defense officials said.
Slow, easterly winds are expected to usher vog to the interior of Hawaii island starting tonight and continuing over the next two days, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense.
There is also the possibility that volcanic gas output and ash emissions may increase, negatively affecting the air quality over the central and southern areas of the island, the agency said. Tradewinds are not expected to return until the weekend.
A community meeting on volcanic ash and vog will be held at 5:30 p.m. today at the West Hawaii Civic Center Council Chamber – Building A in Kona.
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists expect more seismic activity followed by an explosion at Kilauea today.
“There’s a pattern,” geologist Wendy Stovall said today. “More frequent earthquakes leading to larger events and then an explosion. We’re actually expecting one to come within the next few hours, with plumes between 8,000 and 15,000 feet above sea level.”
Just before Stovall and others spoke on a conference call with reporters today, Hawaii County Civil Defense reported that a 4.1 magnitude earthquake struck the Hamakua Coast at 10:39 a.m. However, further analysis showed it was an erroneous reading “due to multiple small earthquakes occurring in quick succession,” according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
Fissure 8 continues to pour lava into Kapoho Bay and has now extended the coastline by .8 miles, Stovall said.
“The bay is completely filled in and the shoreline is now at least .8 miles out from its original location before the ocean entry began,” she said. “All of Vacationland, Hawaii has been completely covered by lava. Vacationland is gone.”
Jessica Ferracane, spokeswoman for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, said she was at Kilauea’s summit this morning and experienced “three sizable earthquakes.”
With ash all around, “it’s a beautiful, blue day but it really seemed eerie up there. … It really makes things seem unsettled, literally and figuratively,” Ferracane said.
The latest confirmed count of homes overrun by lava has increased to 130 from 117, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense today.
The figure, however, is expected to soar as “hundreds of homes” are believed to be destroyed in Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots, said spokeswoman Janet Snyder.
Lava has ravaged all of Vacationland and only the northern tier of Kapoho Beach Lots remains for now.
Officials are reviewing daily aerial photographs and footage as well as census and property tax records to determine the number of homes consumed by lava.
Census records show about 350 homes at Vacationland and 150 homes at Kapoho Beach Lots, according to Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno.
The partial collapse of Halemaumau crater continues as the summit subsides due to the movement of magma toward the East Rift Zone.
June 5 overflight of summit #KilaueaEruption site. #Halemaumau Crater has expanded and collapsed over the past month. Watch the live stream https://t.co/ZfVc8WBpkU & see more videos https://t.co/vOjDzOXaSl #KilaueaSummit #KilaueaEruption pic.twitter.com/xP46wrYAKn
— USGS Volcanoes? (@USGSVolcanoes) June 6, 2018
The Vacationland subdivision has been completely covered by lava and is entering the ocean in the area.
U.S. Geological Survey officials confirmed the development during a 6:30 a.m. overflight today.
Additionally, lava flows extended 100 yards north in Kapoho Beach Lots as fissure 8 continues fountaining.
Lava from fissure 8 continued to fountain Tuesday night to heights consistent with those observed earlier in the day.
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials said the northernmost lobe of fissure 8 was advancing very slowly to the northeast and that no other fissure vents were active.
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Given the dynamic nature of Kilauea’s lower East Rift Zone eruption, with changing vent locations, fissures starting and stopping, and varying rates of lava effusion, map details shown here are accurate as of the date/time noted. Shaded purple areas indicate lava flows erupted in 1840, 1955, 1960, and 2014-2015 (see large map).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.