HONOLULU (KHON2) — Officials are holding informational meetings on Big Island as activity increases on Mauna Loa. In Ocean View, residents packed the community center to hear the updates on the potential impacts.
“We’ve been to these talks before when Mauna Loa has acted up and we just want to see if anything has changed,” said Ocean View resident Karen Pucci.
According to experts, within the last three weeks there have been over 800 events on Mauna Loa.
“We’re in a period of what we’re calling elevated unrest or weighted unrest which just means there’s more earthquakes than normal on the summit area,” said Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Scientist-in-Charge, Ken Hon.
Experts want the community to start preparing in case of an eruption and Hawaii County Civil Defense bases its action on the HVO alerts.
If the alert level increases to orange, that would indicate an eruption could take place.
“This community—Kaʻū, Ocean View, South Kona is vulnerable to fast flows if it comes in this direction. So based upon our monitoring and what USGS tells us then we’ll take the appropriate actions,” said Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator, Talmadge Magno.
The county and Red Cross are meeting to discuss possible shelters.
We know a lot of these folks go to Kailua-Kona. So, whether they need to, Kailua-Kona or go further to the east, to Kaʻū or Hilo, we have the flexibility to open shelters there as well,” said Magno.
The Hawaii County Civil Defense said Mauna Loa remains in a yellow advisory, which means there’s no imminent signs of an eruption. Within the last 24 hours, there has been 10 earthquakes, all under 3.0 magnitude.
Residents and businesses are not wasting any time.
“People seem to be buying more water. There’s a lot of activity going on with just the heightened sense of something is going to happen. You can just feel a lit of rumbling around here,” said Malama Market manager, Trish Stoner.
“I’m not panicked but I do feel like we’re prepared and that’s the most important thing,” said resident Connie Greedy.
Officials are planning more community outreach.
“This will be the first of many community meetings we’re going to be doing, that we got on schedule. Next Thursday in Pahala from 5 to 7 for that community as well. Then we’ll hit up the South Kona areas also,” said Magno.