It is safe to travel to Hawaii during the volcanic eruptions — but avoid these areas
By Cailey Rizzo
May 22, 2018, 10:24:15 AM EDT
Share this article:
After two weeks of eruptions, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano became more dangerous over the weekend.
Lava from the volcanic eruption oozed out to the ocean on Saturday, creating something called “laze,” a lava-haze hybrid. As the lava combines with ocean water, it forms a steam cloud laced with hydrochloric acid and fine particles of glass. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) calls laze a "hot, corrosive, gas mixture” that can create "hazy and noxious conditions” and warned people to stay away from the coastline where the cloud lingers.
County officials have distributed breathing masks and warned residents about air quality near the laze cloud (which is mostly offshore). Sulfur dioxide levels have tripled in recent weeks because of the eruptions.
Is it safe to travel to Hawaii now?
The National Park Service has closed most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park “due to ongoing seismic activity, summit deflation, and a possible steam explosion.” Tourism officials maintain that most of Big Island is still safe to visit and remains unaffected by the explosion. However, travelers are urged to avoid the island’s Puna region.
The Kilauea volcano also caused its first injury on Sunday when molten lava hit a man outside his home. The rock “hit him on the shin and shattered everything from there down on his leg," Janet Snyder, spokesperson for the Hawaii County mayor, told Hawaii News Now.
Scientists are unsure how long the eruption will last. Kilauea erupted at least twice over the weekend.
"At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles very near the vent," the USGS wrote in an update. "Communities downwind should be prepared for ashfall as long as this activity continues."
Since its eruption two weeks ago, the volcano has caused thousands of people to evacuate their homes.
Over the past few days, lava flow has picked up speed and intensity. At least 23 fissures from the volcano have opened so far and 40 homes buildings have been burned by the lava.
You can play with adorable cats all day on this Hawaiian island
These state parks have all the beauty of national parks - and none of the crowds
Here's how you can rent one of Hawaii's most famous surf shacks
More Weather News
Dams date back to around 2950-2750 B.C., when the ancient Egyptians built the first known dam, but it's not common to learn about their purpose and how they work.
2nd winterlike storm of week to bring snow, ice and rain to eastern US from Wednesday night to Friday
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 3:06:50 PM EST
A storm with snow, ice and rain will bring travel disruptions from the Midwest and southern United States to the Northeast spanning Wednesday night to Friday.
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 11:52:48 AM EST
One of the most well-known meteor showers of the year is set to peak this weekend as the Leonids will be on full display across Europe.
Over 200 remain missing in Northern California as firefighters battle Camp Fire, which is tied for deadliest in state history
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 5:27:36 PM EST
The most destructive wildfire in California history continues to burn in Northern California in Butte County. The fire has destroyed hundreds of buildings and has placed hundreds of lives at risk.
75,000 Los Angeles County homes remain evacuated, number of destroyed homes expected to rise as Woolsey Fire rages in Southern California
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 1:51:06 PM EST
Extreme fire behavior will continue to challenge firefighters in Southern California early this week as they look to gain ground on two large wildfires.
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 10:03:03 AM EST
Heavy rain and thunderstorms slammed parts of Argentina over the weekend, and more is on the way through Tuesday.
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 12:03:09 PM EST
A rocket will streak across the sky over the mid-Atlantic early Thursday morning as NASA launches a spacecraft from the Virginia coast.
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 4:08:00 PM EST
Cyclonic Storm Gaja formed this weekend in the Bay of Bengal and will track westward toward southern India in the coming days.