As Mauna Loa volcano continues to erupt on Hawaii’s Big Island, local officials and residents are noticing lava flows approaching highways and planning that access to highways may soon be cut off. is standing It has a big impact on your daily life.
As of Wednesday morning, lava from Mauna Loa was 3.6 miles from Saddle Road, also known as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. An important road is the fastest route connecting the east and west sides of the island.
“County officials are working with the State Department of Transportation to plan to block the Daniel K. Inouye Highway if the lava comes close enough to the road that it poses a hazard,” it said in a statement to CNN. . “Plans are tentative and subject to change based on lava progress.”
As of Wednesday, the lava had moved into a relatively flat area, “slowing down and spreading,” Weintraub said.
Emmanuel Carrasco Escalante, who lives in Hilo on the east side of the island, told CNN his commute would take about four hours round trip if the roads were closed.
Carrasco Escalante, who has a landscaping job in Kona on the west side of the island, said he usually shows up around 3:30 a.m.
If Saddle Road were to be closed, he would have to detour north or south to the coastal road, he said.
Carrasco Escalante told CNN: “It’s about two hours, more gas, more miles, so hopefully it doesn’t cross the road.”
The lava fountain that began pouring out of Mauna Loa this week erupted for the first time in 38 years, joining nearby Kilauea that has been erupting since last year, causing a rare dueling volcanic eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii. At 13,681 feet above sea level, Mauna Loa is the world’s largest active volcano.
Weintraub said the transportation department can provide six hours’ notice of road closures. “And Hawaii Volcano Observatory staff say they can give at least 24 to 48 hours’ advance warning if lava appears to threaten roads.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the lava’s velocity has slowed in the days since the eruption, and it could take at least two days for the lava to reach Saddle Road.
Weintraub said there are hospitals and first responders on both sides of the island for emergencies if roads are closed, and there is already “substantial coordination” between hospitals across the state. said.
Hawaii’s transportation department is monitoring the situation and has a response plan in place should the highway need to be closed, according to a statement earlier this week. The department also shared preliminary plans for possible closures.
Despite the double eruptions of Mauna Loa and Kilauea just 21 miles apart in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Governor David Ige insists it’s still safe to visit the Big Island. And Park says neither eruption threatens housing.
“The eruption site is on top of a mountain and in a relatively isolated location,” Ige said.
But state health officials have warned of potential air quality problems such as vog and volcanic smog.
Residents and visitors “can expect elevated and variable fog conditions, airborne ash, and sulfur dioxide levels in various parts of the state,” the Hawaii Department of Health said. I’m here.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, volcanic gases, fine ash, and Pele’s hairs (bundles of volcanic glass) can be carried downwind.Field team discovers Pele’s hair across old lava flow through geological survey said on wednesdayadded: “Wind-blown eruption plumes deposited kilometers of hair from active vents.”
Children, the elderly and people with respiratory conditions should reduce outdoor activities that cause heavy breathing, stay indoors and reduce exposure by closing windows and doors if the vomiting condition worsens, the health ministry said. Stated.
The governor acknowledged the potential for an air hazard and said officials are tracking air quality monitors across the island.
“The concern is about dangerous gases from the cracks, and the most dangerous is sulfur dioxide,” Ige said Wednesday. “Volcano observations should be done from a distance. Getting close is dangerous.”
No evacuation orders have been issued, but Ige said he had signed a state of emergency as a “proactive” measure.
More than 3,000 miles north, officials in Alaska are also monitoring two erupting volcanoes in the state.
Both Pavlov and Great Sitkin volcanoes have experienced low-level eruptions in the remote Aleutian Islands, according to Cheryl Searcy, a scientist working at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.
“Pavlov has been erupting for over a year,” Searcy told CNN in a telephone interview from Anchorage.
Meanwhile, the 8,261-foot-tall Pavlov is not producing tall ash clouds and poses no threat to aviation, Searcy said.
As for the Great Sitkin Volcano, lava is still erupting at the summit crater, according to reports from the state volcano observatory. Searcy noted that the 5,709-foot Great He Sitkin has also been active for quite some time.
Researchers are also looking at three other volcanoes showing signs of unrest, including Semisopochnoi, Takawanga and Cleveland.
Overall, Alaska has more than 40 active volcanoes spread across the Aleutian Islands.