Kilauea volcano grows more explosive

A 20th fissure cracked open, pumping out clouds of sulfur dioxide that pose an "immediate danger to health," according to Hawaii officials.
2:38 | 05/16/18

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Transcript for Kilauea volcano grows more explosive
Now to the growing volcano threat in Hawaii raising the alert level this morning as more cracks appear. Take a look at these satellite images showing Hawaii's big island a year ago and now. After those eruptions, you know, that's after those eruptions. Our chief national correspondent Matt Gutman is on the ground with the latest. Good morning, Matt. Reporter: Hey, good morning, Michael. Scientists are telling us those towering clouds of ash that you just saw are the start of what you could call the main event here. They say that ash could smother parts of the island, could close down the airports and this could last for two weeks and is only forecast to intensify. The kilauea volcano firing burst after burst of volcanic ash skyward. Those columns of gas and ash reaching 12,000 feet growing more explosive this morning dropping ash on sections of the big island of Hawaii and what scientists are calling the start of the biggest explosive eruption at kilauea since 1924. Officials warning residents living near the volcano to stay indoors and airplanes to stay away. That volcanic ash mixing with rain clouds and producing acid rain. All this comes as the 20th fissure cracked open the Earth pumping out clouds of sulfur dioxide. Officials here declaring a condition red in parts of the big island with the gas posing an immediate danger to health. We walked down roads impassable and cracked open by those thermal vents. These plants haven't been burned. It is some of the fumes that have killed them over the past ten days of continuous exposure to this hazardous gas. At least five new eruptions since Saturday rattling the 400 residents who defied the mandatory evacuation orders. The lava in those fissures is draining from kilauea. The volcano's cauldrons are dipping. Michael, now while it's important to note that 2,000 people have been ordered to flee their homes and 40 structures have been destroyed nobody has been actually hurt by this volcanic activity. In fact, you could say the biggest casualty here has been Hawaii tourism which largely relies on the volcano national park, but its closure and people's fear has caused tourism bookings to drop here by 50%. Michael. All right, thank you so much, Matt. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said we're glad no one is hurt. Thank you for that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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