East Hawaii News

Evacuations Likely as Lava Reaches Apa’a Street

October 25, 2014, 9:59 AM HST
* Updated October 25, 10:04 AM
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The June 27 lava flow traveled across its first paved road, as expected, overnight.

Apa’a St. was crossed Saturday morning at around 3:50 a.m., according to Hawai’i County Civil Defense.

The flow front, which is now moving at about 10 yards an hour, continues to move in a northeast direction towards the cemetery and Pahoa Village Road, moving approximately 300 yards since yesterday.

Smoke conditions are not currently affecting the community in the area, but residents are advised that smoke from the burning asphalt and varying winds could change.

As of Monday morning, the original flow had been stalled for two days and a breakout of the now leading front followed behind.

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Tuesday, the original flow picked up, moving about 30 yards, and was approximately 0.6 miles from Apa’a St.

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Two days later, the flow was overtaken by the narrow lobe that had broken out on Monday and was moving considerably faster than the original flow had in weeks.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory personnel predicted on Tuesday that, should the lobe continue its then movement of approximately 90 yards per day on average, it would overtake the tip of the flow in the following one to two days. That is precisely what happened.

The current flow front took over the original June 27 lava flow front and has been moving much more rapidly than its predecessor since Wednesday, advancing, at times, over 400 yards a day.

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Civil Defense, along with Public Safety personnel, will be conducting door to door notification of residents in the down slope areas of Pahoa Village on Saturday to ensure residents are aware of the flow’s current activities.

According to Civil Defense, the current location of the flow front, its direction, and pace of advancement means residents in the flow path will be placed on evacuation notice.

An evacuation notice means residents in the flow path areas should prepare for possible evacuation in the next three to five days.

Residents will be kept informed of the flow movement and are asked to complete preparations for a possible evacuation by Tuesday, Oct. 28.

HVO scientists monitored the flow on a mid-day flight Friday as well as the distal portion of the flow on the ground.

According to HVO Scientists who measured the cross sectional area of the lava tube feeding the flow, the measurement suggests that the volume of lava being supplied to the flow from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent has increased slightly.

HVO also reported that there are very few breakouts behind the flow front.

Road closures of Apa’a St. and Cemetery Road, between the Pahoa Transfer Station and the Kaohe Homesteads Road, are still in effect. Civil Defense and Public Safety personnel will continue to operate in the area around the clock to closely observe flow activity.

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