East Hawaii News

Lava Flow Update For Friday, Sept. 19

September 19, 2014, 4:43 PM HST
* Updated September 20, 8:39 AM
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As of Friday, the June 27 lava flow continues in a northeast direction in the northwest portion of Kaohe Homesteads subdivision.

According to the latest information from Hawai’i County Civil Defense, the surface flow has advanced approximately 180 yards since Thursday. The active edge of the surface flow has exited the northwest corner of the Kaohe Homesteads and has moved from the forested area to open land with lighter vegetation.

The front of the flow is approximately 100 yards wide.

There is no brushfire threat at this time and all burning is limited to the vegetation that is in direct contact with the flow. Smoke conditions were light to moderate at the flow; however, heavy vog from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent was present Friday morning over the lower Puna areas and extending into Keaau and parts of Hilo. Conditions are expected to improve as the trade winds pick up later Friday.

Construction continues on the Railroad Avenue and Government Beach Road. These activities are to establish alternate road access in the event Highway 130 is affected by the lava flow.

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According to the latest information from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the flow front had advanced at an average rate of roughly 660 feet per day between Sept. 17 and Sept. 19, which is lower than the advance rate of 960 feet per day between Sept. 15 and 17.

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Fluctuations in flow advance rate like this are common for pahoehoe lava flows. The actual length of the flow is about 11.6 miles.

The flow front Thursday afternoon was 1.5 miles upslope from Apa`a Street. Active portions of the flow are still in thick forest, creating smoke plumes as lava engulfs trees and other vegetation, but fires are not spreading away from the flow.

Small breakouts also remain active closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, roughly midway along the length of the June 27 flow. None of these breakouts have been very vigorous recently, but are also producing smoke plumes as they creep into the adjacent forest.

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USGS geologists told community members during a meeting Thursday at Pahoa High School that the lava could reach Pahoa Village Road next week.

Keep checking www.bigislandnow.com for more updates.

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