East Hawaii News

June 27 Lava Flow Update – 10/27/14

October 27, 2014, 2:02 PM HST
* Updated October 27, 2:04 PM
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The June 27 lava flow has advanced approximately 275 yards since Sunday morning, according to Hawai’i County Civil Defense.

According to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, 130 yards of the flow has moved between 4:30 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 a.m. Monday.

The flow front crossed Apa’a St and Cemetery Road early Sunday, where it then traveled through the cemetery and continued northeast. Currently, the flow is traveling towards Pahoa Village Road along the steepest decent.

An 11:15 a.m. update on Monday from HVO noted that field scientists have observed a slight increase in flow movement. It is currently moving at approximately 20 yards an hour. The rate of the flow has been sporadic and can, and possibly will, change as the flow continues to advance.

The front of the flow is approximately 100 yards from the nearest residential property.

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A media briefing with officials late Monday morning said that the couple living in the home nearest the lava front has already made evacuation plans and has been cooperating with officials.

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Once the flow passes through the first residential area, other areas in immediate danger include other residential homes and one agricultural lot that is a business to a small Anthurium farm. These structures are approximately 175-200 yards from the current front of the lava.

HVO officials have been monitoring the leading portions of the flow on the ground with a crew of about two to three at a time. The crews in the area continue to walk the flow front, taking measurements, tracking advance rates, mapping, and observing slight changes in topography that could have an impact on the flow rate and path.

Smoke conditions in the area have continued to be light to moderate with moderate trade winds from the northeast pushing the smoke in a south-southwest direction.

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There is a possibility for smoke conditions to worsen in some areas and residents who are down wind and have a history of respiratory problems or who may be sensitive are advised to take necessary precautions and to remain indoors.

Currently the flow location, direction, and advancement has residents who reside in the flow path to be placed on an evacuation notice.

This notice is not a mandatory evacuation order. The evacuation advisory is to ready residents in the area to prepare for a possible evacuation, as of Sunday evening.

Residents in these area will continue to be kept informed of the flow status and its advancement and will be told when it is time for them to evacuate their homes for their safety.

Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira made it clear during Monday’s briefing that resident’s safety is the highest priority. He additionally stated that personnel and residents are working closely together and, should their homes be impacted by the flow, residents should be able to observe from a safe distance. Oliveira stated that the potential of observing the event are important for closure, historical documentation, and insurance purposes.

Residents in the potentially affected areas have been working closely with Civil Defense personnel, according to Oliveira, in a “cooperative” manner.

Pahoa Village Road between Apa’a St. and the Post Office Road will remain closed.

Additionally, the Hawai’i Police Department issued a release this morning stating that traffic entering Pahoa is limited to the intersection of Route 132 and Route 130 near Pahoa High School. Pahoa Post Office Road is now a one-lane road for traffic heading out of Pahoa and parking alongside the shoulder of Post Office Road is prohibited.

Pahoa Post Office is still operational, according to officials, and continues to prepare for the safety of its employees and residents in the area. Post Office personnel also continue to work closely with Civil Defense for potential next steps. Should the lava flow impact the Post Office or surrounding area, information about a possible closure will be announced.

Oliveira shared the importance of people keeping their distance from the area during the briefing. “We are all very sensitive to the desire people have to want to see the flow. It is a historical event and it is an extraordinary natural phenomena. At the present time, the safety of the community and the safety of the work being done, and the hazards in the area, outweigh the opportunity currently to provide for safe viewing.”

Oliveira added that personnel asks for the patience of the community. “We ask for everyone’s patience, as well as to consider the difficulty some of these residents are having with moving their belongings and the process they will have to go through with an evacuation. It’s not a large street, it’s a very narrow road and people are moving using large trucks that can benefit from having unobstructed roadways. We are trying to be as sensitive to those who are evacuating as possible.”

Civil Defense and Public Safety personnel will continue their around the clock operations to maintain close observation of the flow activity and to ensure public safety.

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