Hurricane heads to Hawaii as lava activity wanes
An erupting Hawaii volcano is causing fewer earthquakes, and there's less lava coming out of an eruption site in a neighborhood just as the Big Island braces for an approaching hurricane.
Scientists say a helicopter overflight on Monday confirms a significant reduction in lava output from a fissure in a Big Island community where new volcanic cracks first opened on May 3. They say it's common for eruptions to wax and wane or pause completely. It's also possible the discharge of huge volumes of lava could resume.
Mayor Harry Kim says officials are preparing for whatever nature brings. He says neighborhoods that could have felt the brunt of the storm have been destroyed by the ongoing lava flow.
A tropical storm watch is in effect Monday for waters south of the Big Island. The National Weather Service says Hurricane Hector is expected to pass south of the Big Island Tuesday night and Wednesday as it moves westward.
Meteorologist Melissa Dye says the southern half of the island should brace for winds of 35 mph (56.3 kph) or higher. She says there could also be a few inches of rain into Thursday as Hector passes the island.