Hawaii volcano erupts 6 mile-high plume, could blow again within hours By Terray Sylvester Video by CBS News PAHOA, Hawaii, May 17 (Reuters) – Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano spewed ash nearly six miles (9 km) into the sky on Thursday and scientists warned this could be the first in a string of more violent explosive eruptions with the next possibly occurring within hours.”This has relieved pressure temporarily,” U.S. Geological Survey geologist Michelle Coombs told a news conference in Hilo. „We may have additional larger, powerful events.”Residents of the Big Island were warned to take shelter from the ash as toxic gas levels spiked in a small southeast area where lava has burst from the ground during the two-week eruption.The wind could carry Kilauea’s ash plume as far as Hilo, the Big Island’s largest city and a major tourism center, the County of Hawaii Civil Defense warned in an alert.”Protect yourself from ash fallout,” it said.Some Big Island residents had feared „the big one” after Kilauea shot anvil-sized „ballistic blocks” into the visitors’ car park on Wednesday and was rocked by earthquakes that damaged buildings and cracked roads in the park that was closed last week.Slideshow by photo service But geologists said the 4:15 a.m. (10:15 a.m. EDT) explosion was not particularly large and on a par with the last series of steam-driven blasts, which took place in 1924.”The activity is such that they can occur at any time, separated by a number of hours,” Hawaiian National Volcano Observatory Deputy Scientist-In-Charge Steve Brantley told reporters on a conference call.Geologists said it was extremely unlikely Kilauea would have a massive eruption like that of 1790 which killed dozens of people in the deadliest eruption to occur in what is now the United States.Kilauea’s falling lava lake has likely descended to a level at or below the water table, allowing water to run on to the top of its lava column and create steam-driven blasts, they said.”I don’t think there is a big one that’s coming,” said University of Hawaii vulcanologist Scott Rowland.”I think it’s going to be a series of explosions similar to the one that happened this morning, and that’s based on what happened in 1924, which is really our only analog,” he said of the nearly century old event, which lasted 2-1/2 weeks and killed one person who was hit by a „ballistic block.”ASH MASKS A spike in toxic sulfur dioxide gas levels closed schools around the town of Pahoa, 25 miles (40 km) east of the volcano, where lava from giant cracks has destroyed 37 homes and other structures and forced about 2,000 residents to evacuate.A change in wind direction caused gas spewing from fissures to drift northwest towards Pahoa, prompting National guard troops to don gas masks at a nearby road intersection, according to a Reuters reporter.Pahoa fire station recorded a „red level” of sulfur dioxide, meaning the gas would cause choking and an inability to breathe, Fenix Grange of the Hawaii Department of Health told a news conference in Hilo. „If it’s red, it’s get out of Dodge,” she said. There have been no deaths or serious injuries reported during the current eruption. Civil defense workers handed out one ash mask per family member in communities close to Kilauea to protect residents from the powdered rock, which is not poisonous but causes irritation to eyes and airways.An aviation red alert was in effect due to risks ash could be carried into aircraft routes and damage jet engines, USGS said. Passenger jets generally cruise at around 30,000 feet, the height of Thursday’s plume.Across the Big Island, home to 200,000 residents, people were encouraged to take caution driving, as ashfall can make roads slippery, and not go outdoors unless necessary.But by 1:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. EDT) reported ashfall was limited to only light, wet deposits about 3-4 miles (5-6 km) northwest of the summit, as rain over the volcano curbed the spread of ash.Thursday’s eruption lasted only a few minutes, said Coombs who called it „a big event that got people’s attention, but did not have widespread impact.””Tall but small,” she said of Thursday’s plume. (Additional reporting by Jolyn Rosa in Honolulu; Writing by Andrew Hay; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Sandra Maler)
N.J. school bus accident: Popular social studies teacher named as crash victim•N.J. school bus accident: Popular social studies teacher named as crash victimA popular middle school teacher from Paramus has been identified as the chaperone who died Thursday along with a fifth grader when the school bus in which they were passengers crashed on Route 80 while on a class field trip. A family member told The New York Times that Jennifer M. Williamson, 51, a teacher for more than 20 years, died in the crash. Williamson’s cousin, who declined to give her name, said Williamson grew up in Paramus „on a tree-lined block not far from the school where she taught fifth-grade social studies.” Officials have not yet released Williamson’s name or the name of the student who died. A source who was at the scene, however, said the dead student was a girl who apparentlyUpdated ; Posted By Chris SheldonNJ Advance Media for NJ.comA popular middle school teacher from Paramus has been identified as the chaperone who died Thursday along with a fifth grader when the school bus in which they were passengers crashed on Route 80 while on a class field trip.A family member told The New York Times that Jennifer M. Williamson, 51, a teacher for more than 20 years, died in the crash.Williamson’s cousin, who declined to give her name, said Williamson grew up in Paramus „on a tree-lined block not far from the school where she taught fifth-grade social studies.”Officials have not yet released Williamson’s name or the name of the student who died. A source who was at the scene, however, said the dead student was a girl who apparently died from blunt force trauma.Bus crash student describes tragic accident on I-80 Michelle Park, a 16-year-old former student of Williamson told The New York Times that she „was really nice and so into teaching.” People had begun leaving flowers at East Brook Middle School on Thursday night as part of a memorial for the two crash victims.Jessica Layton@JLaytonTV Tribute outside East Brook Middle School In Paramus after a deadly school bus crash in Mount Olive. A teacher and 5th grader killed on a field trip. Dozens sent to the hospital. Please keep them in your prayers. #ParamusStrong @CBSNewYork A person who answered the phone at Williamson’s home Thursday night said the family did not want to comment.Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera said he has known Williamson and her family his whole life.”It’s just as horrific event as you’ll experience,” LaBarbiera said. „Paramus will miss her. She was an amazing person.”The mayor said Williamson spent her entire career in Paramus.Public records show that Williamson has been a teacher since 1997.Nick Daurio, another one of Williamson’s former students, said on Twitter that he heard she had died in the „horrific accident” and wanted to „pray for everyone.” A commenter on ratemyteachers.com said today that Williamson was „kind to everyone, sweet to everyone, she truly loved what she did. RIP”School bus accident scene on Route 80 captured by dronemThe school bus was carrying 38 students and seven adults, including the driver, from East Brook Middle School for a field trip to Waterloo Village.Forty-three of them were injured and taken to local hospitals. Several remained critical and were undergoing surgery, Gov. Phil Murphy said during an afternoon press conference. Officials had not commented on any of the patients’ conditions as of 9:30 p.m.Authorities have not yet said what caused the accident.Paramus School Superintendent Michele Robinson said Thursday that classes would resume Friday for students and crisis counselors would be on hand.Chris Sheldon may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find NJ.com on Facebook.