11:15am UPDATE

UPDATE: 11:15 a.m.

The National Weather Service this morning issued an alert for residents of southern areas of the Big Island warning that “very light ashfall is expected through at least 6 p.m.” today.

The ash is coming from Halemaumau Crater on the Kilauea volcano’s summit which “showed a burst in volcanic emissions at around 9 a.m.” today which was visible via satellite and web cameras.

“Satellite shows northeast winds carrying volcanic ash downstream across the Big Island Kau District and was observed on the Punaluu area shortly after the burst. Volcanic ashfall will be possible through the rest of the day across the Kau District,” the NWS special weather statement said.

Officials advise people in the affected area to avoid excessive exposure to ash which can irritate the eyes and respiratory systems. “Those with respiratory sensitivities should take extra precaution to minimize exposure,” officials said.

Geologists with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are watching the summit crater for a possible explosive steam-driven eruption of ash and rock as the crater’s lava lake falls below the water table.