Kilauea’s worsening eruption prompts mandatory evacuations
by Leigh Jones
Posted 6/01/18, 09:16 am
Hawaiian officials issued mandatory evacuation orders Thursday for two coastal neighborhoods hit hardest by molten lava flowing from the Big Island’s Kilauea volcano. The fissures that began appearing in the Leilani Estates neighborhood about a month ago now total 24. The lava has destroyed at least 77 homes in the area and on Wednesday began moving so rapidly that officials feared residents would get cut off from their only escape route. “This is the hottest lava that we’ve seen in this eruption, even just a matter of 50 degrees centigrade makes a big difference in how quickly lava flows can move and how they behave once the magma exits the vent,” said Wendy Stovall, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Lava from one fissure shot 200 feet into the air on Wednesday. The eruption sent tiny strands of volcanic glass across the region, creating a health hazard for people who already have breathing problems. Forecasters warned volcanic smog would cover most of the Big Island by week’s end.
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Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.