In addition to erupting lava along its East Rift Zone and around-the-clock earthquakes, the Big Island is now dealing with volcanic ash fall. The National Weather Service office in Honolulu, Hawaii released a special weather statement for the ash.
In their special weather statement, the National Weather Service wrote, “Halemaumau Crater on the Kilauea Volcano Summit at 19.4N 155.3W showed a burst in volcanic emissions at around 9 am HST this morning that was observed on both visible satellite and web cameras. Satellite shows northeast winds carrying volcanic ash downstream across the Big Island Kau District and was observed on the Punaluu area shortly after the burst. Volcanic ashfall will be possible through the rest of the day across the Kau District.” The NWS adds that the ash fall potential should linger through at least 6pm local time.
The National Weather Service warns people to avoid too much contact with the ash. “Avoid excessive exposure to ash which is an eye and respiratory irritant. Those with respiratory sensitivities should take extra precaution to minimize exposure,” the NWS cautions.
Volcanic ash, even in small quantities, can do harm on the surface. A light coating on car or home windows can scratch them; great care should be used when removing ash. Ash entering water catchment systems can contaminate their contents, clog filters, and/or do harm to pumps. More substantial eruptions can also impact cars and jet aircraft, although the explosions this morning have been relatively small.
The National Weather Service says in the event Kilauea creates a large ash loud, NOAA’s Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAAC) will issue critical guidance to help aircraft steer away from destructive ash particles. NOAA’s VAAC has been providing guidance on remote volcanoes erupting in/around Alaska that could pose an aviation threat too. For now, National Weather Service office in Honolulu is responsible for issuing advisories for ashfall.