May 16: HVO Raises Aviation Color Code to Red

Media freaked out overnight when Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory issued a code red alert following a 12,000 foot tall ash explosion at the summit. The next morning they clarified:

USGS Volcanologist Michelle Coombs (EXCERPT):

So we’ve had some questions about what code red means. It sounds a little bit alarming, It’s really just to say that we see significant amounts of ash from this ongoing activity, and to warn aviators about that ash. It doesn’t mean that a really big eruption is imminent. it’s really just characterizing the aviation situation.