"We know the volcano is capable of doing this", Mandeville said, referring in part to steam-driven explosions that occurred at Kilauea in 1924 after a lava lake drained at Halema'uma'u crater. "It's one of the best ways we can "see" what's going on". "Lots and lots of tremors", said Cindy Conda, whose house lies just east of Leilani Estates where 27 homes have been torched by lava in the last eight days and whose residents have all been evacuated.
President Trump approved Hawaii Gov. David Igle's request for disaster relief aid less than 24 hours after the state asked for the declaration. And once the lava drops below the water table, water hits rocks that are as hot as nearly 2,200 degrees and flashes into steam.
Smigelski-Theiss says she's anxious potential flight disruptions would strand them on the island. Officials have confirmed 26 homes have now been destroyed by lava in Leilani Estates.
Trump approved the Hawaii governor's request declaring the state a "major disaster" late Friday night ahead of warnings that continuing volcanic eruptions could cause huge damage to the islands and its residents.
She had meant to visit Kilauea's summit with her husband and 5-year-old daughter.
No one lives in the immediate area of the summit crater.
While locals contend with lava and gas on the ground, explosions at Kilauea's summit some 25 miles (40 km) to the west were dusting communities with ash that irritated eyes and breathing.
Janet Coney, office manager of the Kilauea Lodge, an inn and restaurant, said officials told her lodge employees probably won't have to worry about rocks raining down on them but might experience falling ash. There were no eruptions overnight, but the O'Neal said the situation is still unstable.
As the volcanic eruption enters its second week - assessments continue and additional requests will be made when federal requirements are met. The Puna Geothermal Venture plant has about 50,000 gallons (189,270 liters) of pentane.
Authorities previously ordered almost 2,000 residents to leave the neighborhoods in and around the vents in the mostly rural district of Puna. As a result, lava levels inside the volcano's main crater have been decreasing. But it never seems to take the easy path, and instead, forces itself up through rock; 15 fissures have opened since Kilauea's vents started spraying lava on May 3.
The small town of Volcano, Hawaii, population 2,500, is about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) from the summit.
Neal said a chemical analysis of the lava that's erupted since last week indicated it's from magma that had been stored in the ground since a 1955 eruption.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) issued an orange alert Wednesday, warning that the "steady lowering" of the lava lake in Kilauea's Overlook Crater has "raised the potential for explosive eruptions in the coming weeks".
Authorities on Thursday completed the removal of highly flammable chemicals from a nearby geothermal power plant that was in the path of creeping lava.