World’s largest active volcano Mauna Loa eruption prompts warnings for Hawaii’s Big Island

 Tuesday, November 29, 2022 

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The world’s largest volcano, Mauna Loa, after 38 years of silence, began erupting late Sunday night. Travel warning has been issued. Residents are being told to review preparedness plans as the USGS keeps a close eye on the volcano.

The world’s largest active volcano, Mauna Loa, erupted late Sunday night after laying dormant for nearly 40 years, the U.S. Geological Service’s (USGS) volcanic activity service reported. As a fire-orange glow illuminated the sky on Hawaii’s Big Island, an ashfall advisory was issued for the island and surrounding waters.

The eruption in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is “confined to the summit” and is not threatening downhill communities, according to the USGS. As the early eruption stages of this volcano can be very dynamic and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) is closely monitoring it, USGS warned.

Due to winds potentially carrying volcanic gas and fine ash downwind, an ashfall advisory was in effect across portions of the Big Island of Hawaii and surrounding waters. As of 9 a.m. HST, the ashfall advisory was lifted.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu warned that 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 ashfall can damage buildings and vehicles, contaminate water supplies, disrupt electrical systems and sewage and damage or kill vegetation, the NWS said in its warning.

Although no evacuations have been requested, residents were voluntarily evacuating from the South Kona coast and Hawaii County officials opened at least two shelters, Hawaii News Now reported. Residents who are at risk for Mauna Loa lava flows are being told to review preparedness plans and check with Hawaii County Civil Defense for additional information.

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