Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupts, triggering evacuation of thousands
The Kilauea volcano in Hawaii erupted yesterday, triggering release of lava in a residential area and evacuation orders in the neighborhood.
Though officials didn't give details of how many homes were affected, evacuation was ordered in Mohala Street, Luana Street, Pohohiki Road, Lanipuna Gardens and Leilani Estates near Pahoa town, which saw steam and lava merging from cracks.
Community shelters have been opened.
Hawaii localities being evacuated after volcano eruption
Eruption follows hundreds of tremors these last few days
Yesterday's eruption comes after hundreds of earthquakes on the eastern side of the Big Island these last few days.
Schools had been shut down and roads had developed cracks.
The Puu Oo crater floor had started to collapse Monday, triggering the tremors and the lava into new underground chambers.
Authorities had been issuing warnings all week, urging residents to remain prepared for evacuation.
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Shelters crowded, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park partially closed
The evacuation has affected 1,700 people in Leilani Estates. Many rushed with their animals to community shelters; the gymnasium of the Pahoa District Park was one.
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where Kilauea is located, has closed off 15,700 acres, but most of the park remains open.
The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency has ordered private companies to stop taking tourists into the region.
A brief history of Kilauea's activity
Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Much of its activity has been non-explosive, but in 1924, an eruption shot 10-ton rocks into the sky. One person was killed.
The 1983 eruption of the Puu Oo saw lava shooting up over 1,500 feet into the air.
Since then, the lava flow has buried dozens of kilometers of land and damaged many homes.