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Hawaii volcano erupts, evacuations issued

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Honolulu, HI - 

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is releasing red lava into a residential subdivision, prompting the county to order mandatory evacuations. The eruption following a strong earthquake earlier Thursday that sent a huge plume of ash and smoke into the sky above the island.

Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder said Thursday red lava emerged on Mohala Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision. Hawaii County Civil Defense is urging residents in the Puna community, home to about 10,000 residents, to get out now.

Residents and social media posts show lava spewing from cracks in roadways. Resident Ikaika Marzo said he could see "fountains" of lava in the community.

The lava outbreak was first reported about 4:30 p.m., some six hours after a 5.0-magnitude earthquake shook the Big Island Thursday morning. That quake came after after hundreds of small tremors rattled the island since last week. 

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the larger quake Thursday caused rockfalls and possibly an additional collapse into the Puu O'o crater, but no other significant changes at the volcano. The plume dissipated as it drifted southwest, dropping ash on some nearby communities. 

Earlier in the week, the crater floor of the Puu Oo vent collapsed. That caused magma to push more than 10 miles downslope toward the populated southeast coastline of the island.

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