Featured Articles

NOON: Mandatory Evacuation Order in Effect for Leilani Estates

May 31, 2018, 7:08 AM HST
* Updated June 1, 6:28 AM
Listen to this Article
5 minutes
Loading Audio...

Crews make visual observations of activity at fissure 8 around 5:30 a.m. HST. Fountain heights this morning continue to reach 70 to 80 m (230 to 260 ft) above ground level. The fountaining feeds a lava flow that is moving to the northeast along Highway 132 into the area of Noni Farms road. PC: USGS-HVO

This news story will be updated throughout the day as new information becomes available and new articles will be added to the website’s “News” section. Previous information about ongoing events can be found in Big Island Now’s “Volcano Blog” section.


Highlights of today’s media briefing (the audio recording will be inserted into tomorrows update post).

Wendy Stovall, geologist vulcanologist, USGS HVO

  • Fissure 8 maintains 200 to 250-foot-high fountain
  • Few smaller fountains 60 feet high
  • Cinder cone growing at Fissure 8
  • Fissure 8 flow is very wide, moving downhill into the Noni Farms road at 50 yards per hour
  • Breakout sending flow down Makame Street almost to Pohoiki Road
  • Pele’s Hair and other glass fragments are falling into the Leilani Estates area
  • Fissure 18 is .5 miles from Highway 137; flow has slowed down
  • Low level spattering from Fissure 21
  • Summit is deflating quickly and seismic activity continues
  • Minor ash explosions at the summit
  • Notification service for the ash advisories is in the works

Jessica Ferricane, public affairs officer, Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park

  • Chain of Craters work continues
  • Bulldozers moved through 1,600 feet of lava—about half of the lava they need to move
  • Project could be done this week
  • Rumor control: no layoffs at the national park
  • Park’s 134 employees still working
  • Temporary flight restriction above the summit for 30,000 feet out extending 5 nautical miles

Derek Wroe, meteorologist, National Weather Service NOAA

  • Listen to tomorrow’s recording for details from NOAA NWS

Thursday, May 31, 2018, noon.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that vigorous lava eruptions continue from the lower east rift zone fissure system in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens.

Due to the active volcanic eruptions, Mayor Harry Kim has issued a mandatory evacuation order for Leilani Estates.


The following policies are in effect:

Starting at 12:06 p.m. today, the mandatory evacuation order is in effect for all civilians in Leilani Estates, including and East of Pomaikai Street.

Everyone will have 24 hours from the effective date and time to evacuate the mandatory evacuation area.

Persons remaining in the mandatory evacuation area beyond the effective date and time of this order do so at their own risk with the knowledge that emergency responders may not respond.

Persons in violation of this order are subject to arrest and will be liable for any costs associated with rescue operations in the mandatory evacuation area.

Refusing to evacuate may put you, your family and first responders in danger.

Heed warnings from Civil Defense officials and stay alert.

11:27 a.m., HVO UPDATE

Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: RED

Kīlauea Volcano Lower East Rift Zone

Vigorous eruption of lava continues from the lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) fissure system in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens.

Overnight, Fissure 8 continued to produce persistent fountains that reached heights of 200 to 250 feet.

A small spatter cone is forming on the downwind side of the fountain and is approximately 100 feet high. The fountains are feeding flow activity to the northeast, and minor overflows from the Fissure 8 channel are occurring along its length. One overflow covered the remaining northern part of Makamae Street in Leilani Estates. This overflow crossed Kahukai Street, filling in a low area between Makamae and Luana Streets. The front of the Fissure 8 flow near Noni Farms road advanced at rates of about 80 yards/hour.

At 6:15 a.m., the flow front was 2.2 miles above the Four Corners area.

High eruption rates from Fissure 8 have led to the formation of a leveed channel along the western edge of the lava flow. Failure of flow levees could result in rapid advance of flows. Flow margins are extremely hazardous and should not be approached.

Additional eruptive activity overnight occurred from Fissure 7 and 21. Fissure 18 is also active, but the lava flow, which was moving toward Highway 137 last night, has stalled.

Pele’s Hair and other lightweight volcanic glass from high fountaining of Fissure 8 are falling downwind of the fissure and accumulating on the ground within Leilani Estates. Winds may waft lighter particles to greater distances. Residents are urged to minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation similar to volcanic ash.

HVO field crews are on site tracking the fountains, lava flows, and spattering from multiple fissures as conditions allow and reporting information to Hawaii County Civil Defense. Crews are also checking on the status of ground cracks on Highway 130.

Volcanic gas emissions remain very high from the fissure eruptions. Trade wind conditions are bringing vog to the south and west sides of the Island of Hawai‘i.

Magma continues to be supplied to the lower East Rift Zone. Earthquake locations have not moved farther downrift in the past few days and the number of located earthquakes remains low.

Additional ground cracking and outbreaks of lava in the area of the active fissures are possible. Residents downslope of the region of fissures should heed all Hawai‘i County Civil Defense messages and warnings.

USGS HVO continues to monitor the lower East Rift Zone activity 24/7 in coordination with Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Kīlauea Volcano Summit

Ash continued to erupt intermittently from the vent within Halemaʻumaʻu crater at Kīlauea’s summit. Additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ash fall downwind are possible at any time. Earthquake activity is elevated at the summit, with many small events occurring overnight. Volcanic gas emissions at the summit remain high.

For forecasts of where ash would fall under forecast wind conditions, please consult the Ash3D model output here.

Information on volcanic ash hazards and how to prepare for ash fall maybe found at http://www.ivhhn.org/information#ash (health impacts) OR https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanic_ash/ (other impacts).




In the lower east rift zone in the Leilani Estates area Fissure 8 was the most active fissure overnight it was producing fountains up to 250 feet high and continued to feed a lava flow moving north out of the Leilani Estates area and then which turned northeast along route 132 in the Noni Farms Road area.

This morning as of 6:15 a.m., it was about two miles from the Four Corners intersection and that’s about two miles to the west.

Currently the county is advising Vacationlands and Kapoho Beach Lots residents to evacuate because of the danger of roads in the area being cut off by lava flows and we should also note that cellphone towers and regular landlines have been heavily damaged in the area and so there may be reduced service.

At the summit crater, we are still seeing intermittent ash eruptions and still experiencing elevated seismicity and heavy gas output.

The National Weather Service yesterday notified us of a plume rising to about 12,000 feet, but because of weather visibility was so bad that we were having trouble confirming it on the ground. Regardless, we expect ash plumes to continue as well as the elevated seismicity and gas emissions.

10 a.m.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that lava from several fissures continues to move through Leilani Estates, Lanipuna Gardens and towards the Kapoho area.

Fissure 8 lobes advance: Helicopter overflight shows advancing lobes from Fissure 8 Fissure 8 is not pictured but located to the right, out of view). Advance rates were less than 100 yards per hour for the three lobes of the flow, as measured during the overnight hours. The flow moved north of Highway 132 in the vicinity of Noni Farms and Halekamahina roads, from which the two easternmost lobes advanced in a more east-northeasterly direction while the westernmost lobe advanced in a northeasterly direction.

Fissure 8 is producing the most active flow, with a channel that may overflow at any time.

Hawai‘i Fire Department reports that a flow in the area of Noni Farms Road is heading toward the Wa‘a Wa‘a area.

Fissure 8 lobes advance: Lava from Fissure 8 advances on Kahukai Street. Lava in this area is as much as 3.5 yards in height.

Residents of Government Beach Road, Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland are at risk for isolation or lava inundation should a flow reach that area and are advised to be prepared to evacuate due to the possibility.

Fissure 18 generates slow southbound flows: Lava from fissure 18 travels to the southeast (lower left of photo). The flow front that had approached the ocean on May 30, 2018, has stalled. This view is looking uprift, with Fissure 8 in the distance (upper right of photo).

Due to the volcanic activity, the following policies are in effect:

  • Evacuation area residents in Leilani Estates with approved credentials are allowed to enter from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. This curfew is strictly enforced for your safety.
  • Residents requiring access to Kapoho Beach Lots, Government Beach Road, Vacationland, and the Waawaa area must provide approved credentials for entry. There will be no curfew enforced.
  • Placards to enter these areas are available today only at the checkpoint located in Hawaiian Shores.
  • Starting tomorrow, placards may be obtained at the Recovery Information and Assistance Center (RIAC) at the Pāhoa Community Center, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m to 3 p.m.
  • Residents of threatened areas should heed Civil Defense warnings and be prepared to evacuate with little notice.
  • Everyone is advised to stay away from active volcanic areas.
  • Highway 132 is closed.

Thursday, May 31, 2018, 6:30 a.m.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that lava from several fissures continues to move through Leilani Estates, Lanipuna Gardens and towards the Kapoho area.

Kīlauea Lower East Rift Zone Fissures and Flows, May 31, 9 a.m.  Given the dynamic nature of Kīlauea 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 2014-15. (Click to see large map.)

The Hawai‘i Fire Department reports that a fast-moving flow in the area of Noni Farms Road is heading toward the Wa‘a Wa‘a area. Residents of Government Beach Road, Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland area at risk for isolation or lava inundation should a flow reach that area and are advised to evacuate.

Kīlauea Caldera from HVO Observation Tower, 2018-05-31, 9:40 a.m. PC: USGS HVO

Due to the volcanic activity the following policies are in effect:

Evacuation area residents including Leilani Estates, Government Beach Road, Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland with approved credentials are allowed to enter from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. This curfew is strictly enforced for your safety.

Panorama of Lower East Rift Zone camera from Lower East Rift Zone [PGcam]. Last updated 2018-05-31 9:51 a.m.

Placards to reenter these areas are available at the Disaster Information Center at the Pāhoa Community Center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Highway 132 is closed.

This thermal map shows the fissure system and lava flows as of 12:15 pm on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. The flow from Fissure 8 crossed Highway 132 on May 29. The Fissure 8 flow front on May 30 was near Noni Farms Road during the noon overflight. In addition, Fissure 18 was producing a narrow channelized flow with the flow front .6 miles from Highway 137. The black and white area is the extent of the thermal map. Temperature in the thermal image is displayed as gray-scale values, with the brightest pixels indicating the hottest areas. The thermal map was constructed by stitching many overlapping oblique thermal images collected by a handheld thermal camera during a helicopter overflight of the flow field. The base is a copyrighted color satellite image (used with permission) provided by Digital Globe. (Click to enlarge map.)

Residents close to any volcanic activity should remain alert and be prepared to voluntarily evacuate if necessary.

Stay tuned to local radio stations for updates from Civil Defense.



National Weather Service
Hawai‘i County Civil Defense

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Mahalo for Subscribing


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments