The ash column rising from Kilauea’s Overlook crater, right, falls from the ash cloud to the ground on May 15, 2018. (U.S. Geological Survey photo)

Kilauea Bumped Up to Red Alert After Belching Massive Ash Cloud

The U.S. Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program issued a Red Alert for aviation as the Kilauea eruption worsened Tuesday.

As of early this morning, eruption of ash from the Overlook vent within Halemaumau crater at Kilauea Volcano’s summit has generally increased in intensity, said the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Ash has been rising nearly continuously from the vent and drifting downwind to the southwest.

Ashfall and vog, or volcanic air pollution, has 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, activity may become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent.

Stay up to date on the alert level at USGS

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