Hurricane Douglas swirls 'uncomfortably close' to Hawaii

MAUI, Hawaii -- Heavy rain and wind gusts battered Maui on Sunday as Hurricane Douglas swirled off the coast of Hawaii and officials urged residents to take shelter.Forecasters said the Category 1 hurricane would pass close to Oahu and potentially even make a direct hit on the island, which is home to state's biggest city of Honolulu.“We remain uncomfortably close to a dangerous hurricane here in the state of Hawaii,” Robert Ballard, the science and operations officer at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, said during a teleconference.The center of Hurricane Douglas, which Ballard called a “pretty nasty hurricane,” appears to have passed within 45 miles (72 kilometers) to the north of Hana, Maui.At mid-afternoon, the storm was 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of Honolulu.Maui was projected to have the brunt of the storm before Douglas moved on to Honolulu in the afternoon.

Hurricane Douglas bears down on Hawaii as pandemic flares

HONOLULU — The first hurricane to threaten the United States since the start of the coronavirus pandemic is presenting new challenges to Hawaii officials long accustomed to tropical storms.For example, how do you secure enough shelter space when people have to stay at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart from one another?

Remains of 6 people found after Hawaii tour helicopter crash

HONOLULU — The remains of six people have been found after a helicopter on a tour of one of the most rugged and remote coastlines in Hawaii crashed at the top of a mountain on the island of Kauai, authorities said.Officials said Friday that there are no indications of survivors and that a search for the last person yet to be recovered would resume in the morning, depending on weather.

A Hawaiian postal worker died, leaving behind unanswered questions and a storage unit full of stolen mail

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- A postal worker in Hawaii died, leaving behind about one thousand pieces of stolen mail in a storage unit, according to KHON.The US Postal Service said it will spend the next several days working to deliver the mail, mostly first-class and priority envelopes and packages, to their intended recipients.According to KHON, some of the mail is 13 to 15 years old and sealed.

Soldier climbs over railing, falls into volcano

HAWAII -- The chief ranger of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is warning visitors to "never cross safety barriers, especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges," after a soldier did just that—and fell into the Kilauea volcano's caldera.The 32-year-old, reportedly on the Big Island for training exercises, had "just climbed over a permanent metal railing" on a 300-foot cliff at the caldera when the ground collapsed beneath him.

Hawaii volcano producing toxic lava haze plume called 'laze'

PAHOA, Hawaii — The eruption of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii sparked new safety warnings about toxic gas on the Big Island's southern coastline after lava began flowing into the ocean and setting off a chemical reaction.The molten rock started pouring into the sea over the weekend.

'World of uncertainty:' Hawaii lava reaches sea, injures man

PAHOA, Hawaii — A volcano that is oozing, spewing and exploding on Hawaii's Big Island has gotten more hazardous in recent days, with rivers of molten rock flowing into the ocean and flying lava causing the first major injury.Kilauea volcano began erupting more than two weeks ago and has burned dozens of homes, forced people to flee and shot up plumes of steam from its summit that led officials to distribute face masks to protect against ash particles.Lava flows have grown more vigorous in past days, spattering molten rock that hit a man in the leg.He was outside his home Saturday in the remote, rural region affected by the volcano when the lava "hit him on the shin, and shattered everything from there down on his leg," Janet Snyder, Hawaii County mayor's spokeswoman, told the Hawaii News Now TV station.Lava that's flying through the air from cracks in the Earth can weigh as much as a refrigerator and even small pieces can be lethal, officials said.The injury came the same day lava streamed across a highway and flowed into the ocean.

Hawaii volcano sends ash plume 30,000 feet into sky

HONOLULU —Hawaii's Kilauea vo lcano erupted anew before dawn Thursday, spewing a steely gray plume of ash about 30,000 feet (9,100 meters) into the sky that began raining down on a nearby town.The explosion at the summit came shortly after 4 a.m. following two weeks of volcanic activity that sent lava flows into neighborhoods and destroyed at least 26 homes.

Amount of ash in plume above Hawaii volcano decreases

HONOLULU — Warnings to pilots remained in effect Wednesday after more unrest at Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island.The volcano spewed ash about 12,000 feet (3,657 meters) in the air Tuesday because of rocks falling into the summit, U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Mike Poland said.The plume is separate from the lava eruptions occurring about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away from summit, where about 20 lava fissures in the earth have destroyed more than two dozen homes and forced the evacuation of about 2,000 residents.Geologists warn that Kilauea's summit could have a separate explosive steam eruption that would hurl huge rocks and ash miles into the sky, but it's not certain when or if that might actually happen.Plume activity at the summit might not be as robust on Wednesday, Poland said."There is very little wind at the summit,' he said. "The plume, it's not near as ashy as it was yesterday, and it's rising more or less vertically over the summit region."The fear over ash fall at the summit prompted USGS scientists to operate from a backup command center at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.Poland didn't have an immediate height on the plume Wednesday morning since USGS scientists were not staffing the observatory at the summit.

Hawaii's erupting volcano hits tourism industry

PAHOA, Hawaii -- Officials say the pace of bookings for hotels and tour activities on the Big Island of Hawaii are down about 50 percent compared with previous years as an erupting volcano spews lava for a second week.The Big Island tourism board estimates $5 million worth of cancellations from May through July.

Volcanic gases prompt evacuation of stragglers in Hawaii

PAHOA, Hawaii — Police went door-to-door in Hawaii to roust residents near two new volcanic vents emitting dangerous gases in areas where lava has poured into streets and backyards for the past week.Authorities had ordered nearly 2,000 residents to leave the two communities in the mostly rural district of Puna on Hawaii's Big Island last Thursday.