Aviation warning as Halemaumau ash cloud reaches over 10,000 feet

HVO/USGS Volcanic Activity Notice

Volcano: Kilauea (VNUM #332010)

Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING

Current Aviation Color Code: RED

Previous Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Issued: Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 1:23 PM HST

Source: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Location: N 19 deg 25 min W 155 deg 17 min

Elevation: 4091 ft (1247 m)

HawaiiVolcanic Activity Summary:

At 11:43 a.m. HST, Civil Air Patrol flight CAP20 reported plume tops at 9,500′ with the dispersed plume up to 11,000′. The CAP mission was launched from Hilo in support of Hawai’i County Civil Defense and USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory response to the ongoing eruption. Ashfall from this plume has been reported falling on communities downwind. Photo courtesy of Civil Air Patrol

As of early this morning, an eruption of ash from the Overlook vent within Halemaumau crater at Kilauea Volcano’s summit has generally increased in intensity. Ash has been rising nearly continuously from the vent and drifting downwind to the southwest. Ashfall and vog (volcanic air pollution) have been reported in Pahala, about 18 miles downwind. NWS radar and pilot reports indicate the top of the ash cloud is as high as 10,000 to 12,000 feet above sea level, but this may be expected to vary depending on the vigor of activity and wind conditions.

Ash emission from the Kilauea summit vent will likely be variable with periods of increased and decreased intensity depending on the occurrence of rockfalls into the vent and other changes within the vent.

At any time, the activity may become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent.

Resource on volcanic ash hazards: volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanic_as…

Resource on vog: vog.ivhhn.org/

Recent Observations:

[Volcanic cloud height] 10,000 – 12,000 feet

[Other volcanic cloud information] Drifting generally southwest with tradewinds.

Hazard Analysis:

[Ash cloud] The ashcloud is drifting downwind primarily to the southwest with the Trade Winds. Wind conditions are expected to change in the next 24 hours and other areas around Kilauea’s summit are likely to receive ashfall.

[Ashfall] Ashfall has been reported in the community of Pahala, at locations along Highway 11 from Pahala to Volcano, and in the Ka’u Desert section of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

[Other hazards] Ballistic projectiles may be produced should steam-driven explosions occur. Impacts will be limited to an area around Halemaumau.

[Volcanic gas] Vog or volcanic air pollution produced by volcanic gas has been reported in Pahala.