Radar spots Hawaiian volcano eruption

Posted: Updated:
Early Thursday the show continued when the Kilauea volcano's summit rocketed ash and smoke thousands of feet into the air. (Source: USGS) Early Thursday the show continued when the Kilauea volcano's summit rocketed ash and smoke thousands of feet into the air. (Source: USGS)
Big Island, HI (3TV/CBS 5) -

It's been a wild couple of weeks in Hawaii as volcanic activity has kept the world's attention captive.

Early Thursday the show continued when the Kilauea volcano's summit rocketed ash and smoke thousands of feet into the air.

While this was visible to many on the ground, a very important weather tool also was able to spot it.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Weather Blog]

[APP USERS: Click or tap here to view photo]

Doppler radar!

Check out the image below from the National Weather Service.

[APP USERS: Click or tap here to view image]

It shows a 3-D scan from the radar showing ash and smoke being lofted high into the air.

Emissions from the volcano reached as high as 12,000 feet in the air.

[RELATED: Ash clouds from Kilauea volcano prompt red alert on Hawaii's Big Island]

That is easily as tall as some of the monsoon thunderheads we see here in the summer in Arizona.

The radar sensing the smoke plume is no different from it sensing a thunderstorm.

[READ MORE: Summit of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupts, launching plume of ash and smoke]

The radar beam zips through the air. When it hits something like rain, it bounces back to the radar terminal showing something is out there.

In most situations what the radar “sees“ are meteorological targets such as rain, snow and hail.

But in some situations, like with this volcano, the radar can see other things.

[APP USERS: Click or tap here to view image]

In some cases, a radar can see bugs, bird migrations, cars on a freeway and even a train passing by!

Pretty neat stuff!

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Arizona's Family Weather BlogMore>>

  • Sneak peek at monsoon forecast

    Sneak peek at monsoon forecast

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 10:49 PM EDT2018-05-23 02:49:08 GMT
    Arizona could see more rain than usual during the monsoon. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Arizona could see more rain than usual during the monsoon. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    After an especially dry winter and spring, could this upcoming monsoon season bring Arizona the rain we've been waiting for? Meteorologist April Warnecke takes a look at the updated forecast for the 2018 monsoon season.

    More >

    After an especially dry winter and spring, could this upcoming monsoon season bring Arizona the rain we've been waiting for? Meteorologist April Warnecke takes a look at the updated forecast for the 2018 monsoon season.

    More >
  • Radar spots Hawaiian volcano eruption

    Radar spots Hawaiian volcano eruption

    Friday, May 18 2018 6:02 AM EDT2018-05-18 10:02:18 GMT
    Early Thursday the show continued when the Kilauea volcano's summit rocketed ash and smoke thousands of feet into the air. (Source: USGS)Early Thursday the show continued when the Kilauea volcano's summit rocketed ash and smoke thousands of feet into the air. (Source: USGS)

    It's been a wild couple of weeks in Hawaii as volcanic activity has kept the world's attention captive. While this was visible to many on the ground, a very important weather tool also was able to spot it.

    More >

    It's been a wild couple of weeks in Hawaii as volcanic activity has kept the world's attention captive. While this was visible to many on the ground, a very important weather tool also was able to spot it.

    More >
  • Ignore the man with the long paintbrush pole walking through the desert

    Ignore the man with the long paintbrush pole walking through the desert

    Thursday, May 17 2018 9:59 PM EDT2018-05-18 01:59:04 GMT
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    Taking photos of saguaro blooms high in the sky isn't as hard as you may think.

    More >

    Taking photos of saguaro blooms high in the sky isn't as hard as you may think.

    More >

Ian SchwartzAn Arizona native, born and raised in Mesa, and graduate of Arizona State University, Ian Schwartz is thrilled to be back in the Valley of the Sun.

Click to learn more about Ian.

Ian Schwartz
Wake Up Meteorologist

After starting his journalism career in Illinois, Ian worked in Albuquerque and later Sacramento. In the field as a reporter, he has covered flash floods, blizzards, tornadoes, wildfires, drought and just about everything the weather can offer. After spending some time reporting, Ian decided to further his education and completed Mississippi State's broadcast meteorology program. Ian loves everything about Arizona weather from winter storms in the north to the monsoon in the south. When Ian isn't giving you the forecast in the morning, you can find him hiking, traveling and exploring everything our great state has to offer. If you have any weather pictures or want to say hi, drop him an email or connect online.

Also online

Hide bio