An ashfall advisory is in effect Monday for Hawaii’s Big Island and surrounding waters until 6 a.m. HST (noon EST) after Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, began erupting in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Up to a quarter inch of ashfall could accumulate on portions of the island.
“People with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors to avoid inhaling the ash particles and anyone outside should cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth,” the National Weather Service in Honolulu warned.
“Possible harm to crops and animals. Minor equipment and infrastructure damage. Reduced visibility. Widespread clean-up may be necessary,” it added.
Lava flows are contained within the summit area and are not threatening downslope communities, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said. Winds may carry volcanic gas and fine ash downwind.
“Based on past events, the early stages of a Mauna Loa eruption can be very dynamic and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly,” the observatory said, adding, “If the eruption remains in Moku’āweoweo, lava flows will most likely be confined within the caldera walls.
“However, if the eruptive vents migrate outside its walls, lava flows may move rapidly downslope.”
The eruption began in Moku’āweoweo, the summit caldera of Mauna Loa, on Sunday around 11:30 p.m. HST (5:30 a.m. EST Monday) according to the observatory.
This is a developing story and will be updated.