viernes, 5 de septiembre de 2014

State of emergency issued for Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano

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Residents in the path of the new lava flow at Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano are being urged to finalize their evacuation plans.

A state of emergency has been issued for Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano as new lava flow continues to advance towards residences located northeast of the volcano. The state of emergency was announced in statement from Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi on September 4, 2014.

 Kilauea is a 4008-feet (1222-meter) tall shield volcano located on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is Hawaii’s most active volcano. Kilauea began erupting from the East Rift Zone in 1983, and the lava flow typically moves at a slow pace in the southern direction until it reaches the ocean.

The new lava flow, which began on June 27, 2014, is advancing in the northeastern direction across the island. Currently, the lava is advancing through a heavily forested area that has been closed to the public because of safety concerns.

Officials are tracking the lava flow carefully to determine if and when farms and homesteads further away will need to be evacuated. While evacuation orders had not been given as of September 4th, officials are urging residents in the path of the new lava flow to finalize their evacuation plans.

Map of the new lava flow at Kilauea as of September 3, 2014. Image Credit: USGS.

Mayor Kenoi commented on the emergency declaration in a press release. He said: We are taking this step to ensure our residents have time to prepare their families, their pets, and their livestock for a safe and orderly evacuation from Ka‘ohe in the event the flow continues to advance. Non-residents are being asked to avoid the area. Residents are being asked to monitor Civil Defense updates closely in the days ahead.

 According to a status update issued by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on September 4, 2014, the lava could reach the Kaohe Homesteads boundary in 5 to 7 days if the lava continues to advance.

The flow is now about a mile away from the homesteads, and it is moving at an average speed of 250 meters per day (820 feet per day). Thursday, USGS raised the volcano alert level from a watch to a warning.

The public can track the lava flow activity at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website. During the last week of August 2014, the new lava flow has moved into cracks and depressions in the land making it difficult for scientists to predict where the flow may go in the days ahead. However, thermal imaging technology is helping them to track the flow as the lava advances.

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