HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii County officials have confirmed that lava has exited the summit of Mauna Loa after it started erupting on Sunday, Nov. 27 just before midnight on Hawaii Island.

According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the lava exited the volcano summit through the northeast flank which is an area that is not populated. Due to the direction of the lava flow, there is no threat to any communities even to those near and around the Southwestern Rift Zone.

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“That said, we’ve been told that the lava is heading in the best possible direction, which is away from our communities. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and will be providing updates to the community regularly.”

Mitch Roth, Hawaii County Mayor

Shortly after the eruption, the National Weather Service had issued an ashfall advisory with up to one-quarter of an inch of accumulation for the Big Island however, by around 9 a.m. they canceled the warning for all districts of Hawaii Island.

During the time of the ashfall advisory, HVO said volcanic gas and possible fine ash and Pele’s Hair could be carried downwind but the lava flow should remain in the northeast rift zone of the volcano. People with respiratory illnesses were asked to remain indoors.

Southwest Airlines said they have suspended operations in Hilo. This affects only the 10 interisland departures on the routes between Honolulu and Hilo.

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Operating flights through Hawaiian Airlines will continue to and from Hilo. The airline said they are closely monitoring the eruption of Mauna Loa but advised that guests continue to check their flight status online.

Rumbling small earthquakes had peaked in late September in a period that geologists have been referring to as elevated unrest. Mauna Loa’s activation was upgraded to a red warning Sunday night from the previous yellow color code.

Officials with the USGS and HVO are warning that “based on past events, the early stages of a Mauna Loa eruption can be very dynamic and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly.”

Video from the north rim of Mokuaweoweo, the summit caldera of Mauna Loa, during the overnight eruption of the volcano:

There are currently no evacuations in order, but officials are asking residents at risk to go over preparations and seek Hawaii County Civil Defense for guidance. The county has opened shelters at Old Airport Gymnasium in Kailua-Kona and at Robert Herkes Gymnasium in Kau for those who are self-evacuating.

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The Hawaii Police Department has closed Mauna Loa Access Road at the intersection of Daniel K. Inouye Highway.