Hundreds of Hawaiians wait as Kilauea volcano continues to erupt

Updated May 18, 2018 - 11:48 pm

PAHOA, Hawaii — Janet Morrow had just turned 16 the day Mount St. Helens blew in 1980, spewing plumes of ash high into the sky above her Washington home.

On Friday, exactly 38 years later, she awoke on her 54th birthday in the cab of her pickup truck, parked at a relief shelter on the Big Island of Hawaii. She slept in the small space with her two dogs and two cats, which she scooped up from within her Leilani Estates home about two weeks ago when evacuations began because of ongoing volcanic eruptions.

“My house is still standing,” Morrow said Friday.

But it’s still not safe enough for her to go home.

“Nobody knows how long it will last,” she said.

Since the Kilauea volcano eruptions began this month, 40 structures have been destroyed, said Talmadge Magno, the director of Hawaii County’s civil defense.

“A lot of the vents rejuvenated and have been putting out lava spatter,” Magno said Friday afternoon. “It’s been pretty active.”

Two communities remain under evacuation — Leilani Estates, where Morrow lives, and Lanipua Gardens. Both are about 20 miles away from the bustling city of Hilo, which remains largely unaffected by the eruptions.

When Kilauea first blew, Morrow recalled feeling several earthquakes from within her home and hearing the crackling and rumbling of the volcano.

Conditions escalated quickly, and soon her entire neighborhood was under evacuation order.

“It smelled like forest fires,” she said.

Her quiet tropical neighborhood soon swelled with cars, filled with people trying to get out of harm’s way.

“The police were driving down the roads with megaphones saying ‘Everyone needs to evacuate now,’” Morrow said. “People were panicking.”

Since then, Morrow has been living out of her truck. She knows she is luckier than some. Several in the shelter have lost their houses, cars and entire properties to lava.

The continuing eruptions bring two significant dangers: lava flow and toxic air.

As of Friday afternoon, 22 fissures had opened in the ground of the affected areas. Most fissures released steam, while some remained extremely active, spewing and sputtering lava from beneath the ground.

The toxicity of the air was greatly reduced Friday thanks to strong breezes that swept through the evacuation zones. The department of health continues to closely monitor air quality, though, since the levels “could change at any time,” department official Fenix Grange said.

While the rest of the island is operating business as usual, the affected areas are closely guarded by law enforcement.

National Guard Humvees crawl down small residential streets, which seem largely unaffected until they are not — where large swaths of lava suddenly and randomly cut off roads, and big cracks appear in the asphalt stemming from the fissures.

As of Friday, nearly 400 people had spent the night in at least one of three relief shelters set up for residents, said Amy Hegy, a spokeswoman with Red Cross Hawaii. More than 600 residents had requested some sort of health or medical assistance, she said, and more than 760 residents had requested mental health services.

Together, they care for each other as they wait for word that it’s safe again.

“You got a lot of people here who are just going with the flow — what will be will be,” Morrow said. “But you’ve got others who are like, where am I going now? They’ve lost everything.”

Even Hawaii Volcano Observatory geophysicist Jim Kauahikaua could not estimate when the eruptions will cease.

Morrow said, “This is Mother Nature. You can’t control it. You can make educated guesses, but it is what it is.”

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-8301. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Volunteers gather for annual Clark County homeless count
Volunteers gather for the annual Southern Nevada Homeless Census, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who can understand hospital price lists?
Lists of costs for procedures, drugs and devices are now posted the websites of hospitals to comply with a new federal rule designed to provide additional consumer transparency. Good luck figuring out what they mean.
People in Mesquite deal with a massive power outage
People in Mesquite respond to a major power outage in the area on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Group helping stranded motorists during power outage
A group of Good Samaritans are offering free gas to people in need at the Glendale AM/PM, during a massive power outage near Mesquite on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen falls at Las Vegas parade
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada fell and injured her wrist at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Las Vegas on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like