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Published on Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Aviation Red Alert issued for Hawaii



The U.S. Geological Survey has updated its volcano warning on Hawaii's Big Island to an aviation Red Alert, signifying a big eruption of Kilaueu volcano is 'imminent.'


A shift in wind direction is expected to bring ash clouds inland on Wednesday which could disrupt flights with 'hazardous conditions both on the ground and in the air.'


At least 20 fissures have now opened with some emitting dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide, Hawaii County officials told CNN.





"We're observing more or less continuous emission of ash now with intermittent, more energetic ash bursts or plumes," Hawaiian Volcano Observatory deputy scientist-in-charge Steve Brantley told reporters.


The Observatory said an ash plume from within the Kilauea crater rose more than 10,000 feet.


Cruise ships have opted not to make port calls and Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau says it's beginning to impact tourism arrivals.


It estimates there have been cancelations worth about $5 million through July and bookings for accommodations, tours and activities across the Big Island are down by 50%.


Lava flows have destroyed 37 homes so far and caused the evacuation of at least 2,000 residents.


 

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