An update about the Mauna Loa eruption

The long-anticipated Mauna Loa eruption has finally occurred and it is quite the sight to behold. It might be the only time I get to witness this extraordinary event in my lifetime. I am truly thankful to be living on this island and that the lava is flowing in the opposite direction of my home.

As of today, fissure 3 continues to pump out lava which is flowing down slope to the north. Thankfully, all activity is in the northeast rift and is expected to stay there. The flow front is approximately 2.5 miles from Daniel K. Inouye (Saddle Road) Highway and the road could be covered within the next 3-4 days.

I believe most of the island showed up throughout the week to witness the awe-inspiring lava flow. An endless line of cars has been seen from both the Hilo and Kona side of the island every night as the Big Island community and tourists alike come together to experience this beautiful wonder. From my experience, drivers have been patient and courteous with each other, but there have been a few cars that have driven off the road because they were distracted by the view. If you’re going out there make sure to drive safely.

A traffic migration route was created due to the high traffic volume Saddle Road was experiencing. So far, it appears to be helping. The viewing area is now closer to the lava which is great, but it also means poorer air quality so gas masks are recommended.

Most likely the eruption will continue on the north side. It has been nice to have a break from the uncertainty about which direction the lava would flow from, but I know that there is nothing to be entirely certain about when it comes to a volcanic eruption.

We still have our bags packed for now.

Photographer: Ryan Weatherford

Mauna Loa erupts above my neighborhood

Last night, a little past midnight, I woke up to the sound of car horns and someone at my door. I was informed that Mauna Loa was erupting. In a groggy state, my family began our emergency action plan. I monitored the situation online while my husband and son prepared for a possible evacuation. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do while half asleep, but having a plan made things go a lot smoother.

Within minutes we had everything on our list ready to go. The dog harness was on the Jack Russell Terror and the two exceptionally cute cats were in their carriers. At that point, I had found enough information letting us know the lava was confined within the caldera for the time being. We were told to be prepared for a possible evacuation, but to also sit tight unless something changed.

There was a surreal moment, as Hawai’i residents from all around the island stepped out of their homes and looked up at the orange sky in a state of wonder. A volcanic eruption is one of the most beautiful and powerful experiences I have ever encountered on this planet. There is something truly magical about watching an island grow and the extraordinary experience can be lifechanging.

I’ve always known that a Mauna Loa eruption has never been a question of if, but when one would occur. I’ve known that it would be imperative to move quickly if lava was heading in our direction. We live on the steep slopes of Mauna Loa where lava moves like water, and can meet the ocean within three hours. I am aware there is currently lava above the subdivision where I live. I am aware that I could lose my home or the roads could become blocked. But these are all risks I’m willing to take.  This is my home.