ISLAND OF HAWAI‘I VOLCANO UPDATE
May 12, 2018, 2:00 p.m. HST
LATEST UPDATE VACATION RENTALS IN LOWER PUNA AREA
Effective May 12, the County of Hawai’i Civil Defense Agency has directed all vacation rental owners and operators in Lower Puna to cease operations so that emergency operations can focus on residents who live in the area. The Lower Puna restricted area encompasses the area accessed by Highway 132 from Leilani Estates to Kapoho, Highway 137 from Kapoho to Kalapana, and Highway 130 from Pāhoa to Pohoiki, including Pāhoa’s Black Sands Beach Subdivision. Current vacation renters in this restricted area should find alternative accommodations outside the restricted area as soon as possible. Until further notice, visitors who have vacation rental reservations in the restricted area should find alternative accommodations. This directive has been issued to owners and operators of vacation rentals within the restricted area, online advertisers of vacation rentals, current vacation renters in the area, and vacation renters with reservations.
ACCESSIBILITY IN EAST HAWAI‘I
Residents of Lower Puna between Kapoho and Kalapana have been advised to be on alert in the event of possible volcanic activity in the area. All beach parks in Lower Puna have been closed, including Pohoiki Boat Ramp.
Plumes of steam and variable amounts of ash are rising from Kīlauea summit. According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory/USGS, depending on wind conditions, dustings of ash may occur in the Kīlauea summit area and downwind. For a guide on volcanic ash, visit: https://bit.ly/2IjIqBV
HAWAI‘I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
As a precautionary measure, most of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has been closed until further notice. Only the Park’s Kahuku Unit is open during its normal hours, Friday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00. For Park updates, visit https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/lava2.html.
Kīlauea Summit: Ash plumes and dangerous debris may be emitted from Halema‘uma‘u Crater should a steam explosion resulting from the lowering of the lava lake occur. For Volcano Watch updates, visit: https://on.doi.gov/2r8G4zE
NEW WEB LINK TO HAWAI‘I COUNTY ERUPTION MAP: https://goo.gl/i7RbrB
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
There is absolutely no reason at this time for travelers to change or alter their leisure or business plans. All of the Hawaiian Islands are unaffected by Kīlauea volcano except a remote area on the island of Hawai‘i’s east side. Out of the island’s 4,028 square miles, only less than a 10-square-mile area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions in Puna is affected.
All flights into Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole – KOA (west) and Hilo International Airport – ITO (east) are operating normally.
ACCOMODATIONS AND ACTIVITIES
All accommodations, activities and attractions on the island are also operating normally, with the exception of those in the area affected by the lava activity.
Air quality on the island of Hawai‘i remains largely unchanged with this situation. However, air quality near where the lava is flowing can be hazardous (SO2-sulfur dioxide), and officials are continuing to monitor air quality.
HAWAI‘I COUNTY CIVIL DEFENSE ERUPTION MAP
To view the interactive map (please wait for the page to load), visit: https://goo.gl/EKztyG
AIRPORTS, ACCOMMODATIONS & ACTIVITIES
All airports on the island of Hawai‘i continue to operate normally. All accommodations, activities and attractions on the island are also operating normally, with the exception of those in the area affected by the lava activity. Visitors who have already booked a trip to the island of Hawai‘i with accommodations or activities in/near the Puna district, should call their provider with any questions or concerns.
Effective May 12, those who have vacation rental reservations in the Lower Puna restricted area should find alternative accommodations, until further notice.
The volcanic activity and where lava has flowed is limited to an isolated area in Lower Puna on the island’s east side. This is more than 100 driving miles away from the western Kohala and Kona Coasts, where the island’s major visitor accommodations and resorts are located. This is the area furthest from the current activity. In addition, Hilo town is approximately 20 miles away and unaffected by Kīlauea volcano. Kīlauea is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, and has been erupting for the past 35 years. The topography of the island between east and west is inconducive for a natural flow. Out of the island’s 4,028 square miles, only less than a 10-square-mile area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions in the district of Puna is affected.
Air quality on the island of Hawai‘i remains unchanged with the exception of the eruption location, which can have hazardous levels of SO2 (sulfur dioxide). Officials constantly monitor SO2 levels across the island. VOG or volcanic haze is relatively common on an island with active volcanoes, and the level of haze is dependent on volcanic activity and wind direction/strength. To view SO2 conditions in real-time across the state, visit http://www.hiso2index.info/. For statewide Air Quality, visit Air Now at https://bit.ly/2I33ixd (data and forecasts courtesy of the Hawai‘i Department of Health – Environmental Health).
REPORTS ABOUT ACID RAIN
News reports about acid rain during the current Kīlauea eruption have mischaracterized the severity of its potential effect on human health. In fact, acid rain is a common occurrence anytime there is rainfall on an area where volcanic haze, or VOG, is in the atmosphere, whether on the island of Hawai‘i or anywhere else in the world. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Walking in acid rain, or even swimming in a lake affected by acid rain, is no more dangerous to humans than walking in normal rain or swimming in non- acidic lakes. Data about the composition of rain falling on the island of Hawai‘i is closely monitored on a continual basis by the National Atmospheric Deposition Program’s National Trends Network. Visit the State Department of Health’s Hawai‘i Interagency Vog Information Dashboard for the latest information at www.ivhhn.org/vog/.
HAWAI‘I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
As a precautionary measure, most of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has been closed until further notice. Only the Park’s Kahuku Unit is open during its normal hours, Friday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00
For Park updates, visit https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/lava2.htm.
Ash plumes and dangerous debris may be emitted from Halema‘uma‘u Crater should a steam explosion resulting from the lowering of the lava lake occur. For Volcano Watch updates, visit https://goo.gl/JY8dpt.
ACCESSIBILITY IN EAST HAWAI‘I
Road closures are taking place on select areas of Highway 130, 132 and 137. No access is allowed at this time for residents of Lanipuna Gardens. Residents and visitors who do not have official business in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens are asked to stay away from the area. As a precaution, residents of Lower Puna between Kapoho and Kalapana are advised to be on alert in the event of possible volcanic activity in the area. Temporary flight restrictions are in place for most of Lower Puna. Drones will be confiscated in this area. Those who have rented accommodations or made tour reservations in the general area should check with those respective companies for the latest updates. Unless otherwise noted, area businesses are open and accessible. Motorists are advised to drive with caution and be prepared for increased traffic. Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of State Parks has closed Lava Tree State Monument and Mackenzie State Recreation Area until further notice. All beach parks in Lower Puna have been closed, including the Pohoiki Boat Ramp. The County of Hawai‘i has closed the Kalapana Viewing Area until further notice.
VOLCANOES IN HAWAI‘I
Eruptions of Hawaiian volcanoes are typically nonexplosive or weakly explosive. Hawaiian eruptions, which is a term used by volcanologists worldwide to characterize similar eruptive style at other volcanoes, are usually gentle due to its highly fluid lava composition which tends to flow freely both beneath the surface and upon eruption. For more information about Hawaiian eruptions, visit https://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/hawaii/page26.html.
Travelers planning a trip to the island of Hawai‘i who have questions can contact the Hawai‘i Tourism United States Call Center at 1-800-GO-HAWAII (1-800-464-2924). For other updates, visit http://hawaiitourismauthority.org/news/special-alert/
Hawai‘i County Civil Defense: http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts
Hawai‘i County Eruption Map: https://goo.gl/i7RbrB
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory / USGS: https://on.doi.gov/2FEPVBm
Volcano Watch updates: https://on.doi.gov/2r8G4zE
Volcanic Ash Guide: https://bit.ly/2IjIqBV
SO2 Measurement Map – Department of Health: http://www.hiso2index.info
General Air Quality / Air Now: https://bit.ly/2I33ixd
State of Hawai‘i Interagency VOG Information Dashboard: http://www.ivhhn.org/vog/
Hawaiian Eruptions: https://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/hawaii/page26.html
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Special Alerts: http://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/news/special-alert/
TRAVELERS MAY CALL
Travelers planning a trip to the island of Hawai‘i who have questions can contact the Hawai‘i Tourism United States Call Center at 1-800-GO-HAWAII (1-800-464-2924).