After a day of relative calm, the Kilauea volcano erupted again Sunday, spewing lava 300 feet in the air and destroying nearby homes, bringing the number to 26.
Hawaii’s Civil Defense Agency said that since Thursday when the volcano first erupted, activity from it has opened a tenth vent. Over 1,800 residents have already been evacuated from the neighborhoods where cracks have been opening and spilling lava into the subdivisions.
“There’s no sign of this slowing down. We had some pauses yesterday, but there seems to be a lot of magma underground,” Hawaii’s Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said Sunday.
He added that despite the evacuation order, several citizens decided not to leave their homes in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens neighborhoods.
“We’ve got a loose number,” he said. “I’m not sure how extensive a survey was done, but there are still people who are out there as far in their residences.”
In evacuated areas with relatively low sulfur dioxide levels, residents were allowed on Sunday to return home for a few hours to collect belongings and Magno noted that residents will be permitted in provided it could be done safely. For now, he said, caution had to be exercised considering SO2 levels were still too high, ABC News reports.
Magno also said that the Civil Defense Agency was starting to prepare for the worst.
“It ramps up our response more. … Even though you’re thinking about the worst-case scenario, it’s starting to come to fruition, so you go, ‘OK, we need to get ready for that worst-case scenario’,” he told ABC News correspondent Marci Gonzalez.
“Things got pretty active [Saturday morning],” Magno said at a Saturday press conference. “Fortunately, seismicity has kinda laid down and the vents have gone quiet now.”
Officials, however, pointed out that even though the lava flow was quiet, it wouldn’t be for long. They warned that more vents could open up and “the existing ones could get active again.”
Magno said Sunday that a combination of old vents and new vents were active.