BREAKING: Hawaii on red alert as experts say Kilauea volcano major eruption "imminent"
Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano is going to erupt “imminently”, authorities warned as they place the area on red alert due to ash clouds rising from the mountain.
Officials on Tuesday warned that Big Island's Kilauea volcano in Hawaii is growing explosive with by the minute. Hawaii residents are facing peak volcanic activity in ages as massive ash clouds shroud the skies.
The U.S. Geological Survey upgraded its volcano warning status from "orange" to "red", which means that an "eruption is forecasted to be imminent with significant emission of ash into the atmosphere likely," or that a major eruption could occur any minute.
Local officials told Fox News amid the alert, which was issued just before 1.30 pm local time, “At any time, the activity may become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent."
Since the Kilauea volcano started erupting 12 days ago, close to 20 fissures have opened up. Officials said that another fissure oozing lava and poisonous gases opened up along with a crack in the Earth that was sending molten rock slowly towards the ocean.
About two dozen homes in the Leilani Estates subdivision on the Big Island have been destroyed due to the eruption.
In a conversation with Fox News, Sandra Barnes from Hilo said that she had seen the ash cloud the morning between the Pahoa and Volcano regions.
“I had to stop and take a picture,” she said. “That was a few hours ago. God knows what it looks like now. My kids and my mother are up there now.”
Interestingly, a string of cars can be seen near the entrance of the Volcano National Park down Highway 11, which is the main artery connecting the east and west of the Big Island. Vacationers along with locals watch the lava ash fall from the viewpoint although the park is currently closed.
“We’re not sure if it’s safe but it’s amazing,” Paul Rodaeo, a visitor from Oregon, said. “There really isn’t much more that’s open.”
Since May 3, almost 2,000 civilians have been instructed to evacuate their homes.
This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.