East Hawaii News

June 27 Lava Flow Creeps Toward Kaohe Homesteads

August 27, 2014, 1:19 PM HST
* Updated August 29, 6:17 AM
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According to a status update posted this morning by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the June 27 Kilauea lava flow continues its slow advance toward the Kaohe Homestead region of Puna.

As of yesterday morning, the distal tip of the June 27 flow was 11.5 km east-northeast of the Pu`u O`o Vent, and 3.0 km from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve.

That marks an advance east northeast of approximately 0.1 kilometers since HVO’s previous update a day earlier.

HVO has stated the flow currently poses no immediate threat to residential areas, but has warned the lava’s continued advance could threaten homes and infrastructure “within weeks or months.”

At a community meeting on Monday night, August 25, officials stressed that the flow presented no eminent danger to Puna communities, but emphasized that it deserved attention and increased awareness.  As HVO Scientist-in-charge Jim Kauahikaua explained, the flow could develop into a threat “fairly quickly.”

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Forecasting the flow’s path will be difficult, Kauahikaua said, due to the nature of the terrain in the area, with its many cracks and drops.

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As of Monday evening, Kauahikaua estimated the flow was advancing at a rate of roughly 300 feet per day, but warned that it was difficult to predict the flow’s speed, due to variable terrain.  Kauahikaua said that measuring the lava’s volume was also tricky.

Civil Defense chief Daryl Oliveira said at Monday evening’s meeting that county officials were coordinating with the state highways division and county departments to develop contingency plans should the lava threaten public infrastructure like roads and highways.

Oliveira warned that planning for alternate routes is a bit early, as the flow’s path remains unpredictable.

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But, the Civil Defense chief added, the county would work to act “days” in advance of any approaching lava threats.

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