East Hawaii News

June 27 Lava Flow Afternoon Update – 10/25/14

October 25, 2014, 4:23 PM HST
* Updated October 25, 4:25 PM
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A 2 p.m. update from Hawai’i County Civil Defense announced that the June 27 lava flow front has advanced another 70 yards since 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

The flow continues to move at about 10 yards an hour.

Smoke from the burning asphalt is not currently affecting communities in the area. During a 3 p.m. media briefing, Civil Defense Administrator Daryl Olivera said that burning conditions have lessened since this morning’s original observations.

Civil Defense, Hawai’i Electric Light, and Community Emergency Response Team personnel are currently conducting door to door notifications of residents in the downslope areas of Pahoa Village to ensure residents are aware of current activities. Officials plan to expand their efforts into secondary areas

The current flow crossed Apa’a St. around 3:50 a.m. this morning and continues to flow in a northeast direction.

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As of about 2 p.m., Hawaiian Volcano Observatory field crews observed that the flow had not crossed the cemetery. The flow entered the driveway and has since continued into pasture land across the way.

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Based on the current flow location, direction, and advancement, residents in the flow path will be placed on an evacuation notice.

An evacuation notice means that residents in the flow path should prepare for the possibility of evacuation in the next three to five days. Residents in the area will be kept informed of flow movement and are asked to complete necessary preparations for a possible evacuation by Tuesday, Oct. 28.

In the briefing, Olivera made clear that area residents should continue to be alert and aware, as things can and are likely to change.

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“The current timelines are based on the current flow rates, and that could change. That could speed things up, as well as it could slow things down. The key is that we will be watching the flow 24/7,” Olivera stated.

“Any change would be factored into our decisions, and if need be, we will expedite the evacuation notice, or evacuation directive, as well as let them know if they have more time. I don’t want to frustrate people as I already am, this thing has changed so many times. We understand how difficult this has been on the community, and [we’re] trying to make it as easy for them. Now that it has crossed Apa’a St., that’s kind of like the first reality check that it’s coming. At this point, I’m sure anxiety levels will rise, frustration will rise as well, and fear, as well as disappointment about what could be coming and how it’s going to affect people’s lives,” Olivera continued.

At approximately 1 a.m. Saturday, one Hawai’i Electric Light utility pole had been impacted by the lava flow. The pole remains standing and no power outages have occurred.

“We are encouraged by the initial result of the pole protection design, but the long term results are still not determined,” said Hawai’i Electric Light spokeswoman Rhea Lee. “We will continue to closely monitor the flow and its effect on our infrastructure. As the lava flow progresses, we expect the lava will rise and inflate. This is the second test of our experimental design.”

Apa’a St. and Cemetery Road will remain closed between the Pahoa Transfer Station and the Kaohe Homesteads Road. Civil Defense and Public Safety personnel will be operating in the area around the clock to continue observations on flow activity.

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