USGS: Extreme heat from lava creates ‘wind vortex’ at Kilauea’s summit

It was one of the many spectacular sightings that drew big crowds to Kilauea.
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 5:55 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 8, 2023 at 9:16 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A “wind vortex” or whirlwind was spotted at the south rim of Kilauea’s crater on Wednesday, hours after the latest eruption.

USGS said the vortex was formed due to the extreme heat in the area.

It was one of the many spectacular sightings that drew big crowds to Kilauea, including some visitors who lucked out on their last day in Hawaii.

“The best day, actually in my life, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen live lava and it’s an awesome place to be here in volcanoes National Park. It was cool,” said a family visiting from Utah.

Kilauea erupted again after nearly a three-month pause around 4:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Multiple active vent sources can be seen on the crater floor and scientist say those fountains are shooting about 30 feet high.

If you’re planning on seeing the lava, here’s what you need to know.

MORE: USGS lowers Kilauea alert level a day after fiery eruption at summit crater

Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency issued a red alert advising residents downwind to stay indoors due to the ash and pele’s hair. Vog is another possible threat.

Officials hope the trade wind weather will help to keep vog away from Oahu.