Hilo, HI -
Another tense day on Hawaii's big island as the Kilauea volcano continues to threaten homes and livelihoods. After a lull in activity earlier today, geologists are now tracking what appears to be two new volcanic fissures in the Leilani Estates subdivision, where lava has already claimed at least 35 structures since eruptions started Thursday and forced hundreds from their homes.
The past few days have seen at least a dozen fissures opening up throughout the area, some spewing lava hundreds of feet into the air.
It was roaring sky high, it was incredible. It was fuming, it was roaring, it was thundering; rocks were flying out of the ground. - Sam Knox, Leilani Estates
With no way to predict where the next fissure might erupt, nearly two thousand people have been forced to leave their homes, some, with little to no notice. Shelters and relief centers throughout the region are filling up. Homeowners in Leilani Estates were briefly allowed to return, to pick up whatever necessities they'd left behind.
One family able to grab some clothes, and their cat, saying that one quick return was a blessing.
It was just like the most joyful gratitude of, oh yes, we can go back and get those things we can get our hands on. - Liz Yundt, Evacuee
Others worried about what the future will hold for their community.
What's going to happen with us? If we lose our farm, we don't know where we're going to go. You lose your income and you lose your home at the same time. - Cherie McArthur, Evacuee
I don't really know that our house is still there. - Steve Clapper, Evacuee
As you go down the hill, you can see that Leilani Avenue doesn't exist any more. - Stephen Yundt, Evacuee
Lava now covers more than 380 thousand square feet, with no indications of how far it will spread. As of this evening, lava flows had stopped, but it's not clear how long the vents will remain quiet.
All lava activity, at this point at 8:40 has stopped. So there is no active lava going on. But all the gas releases is still continuing, all the inflation is still there. How long this will last, nobody knows. - Harry Kim, Mayor of Hawaii County
At one of the volcanic fissures, a lava flow advanced for more than 5 hours Sunday, spreading more than a half mile away from the vent. And it's not just the lava that has officials worried. There's also poisonous gas seeping through the crack. Residents also warned to stay away because of the dangerously high levels of sulfur dioxide in the area.