June 27 Lava Flow Update – 10/29/14
The June 27 lava flow is slowly, but surely, continuing it’s decent from Kilauea into the town of Pahoa.
A morning update revealed that the flow is currently 240 yards from Pahoa Village Road as it continues its journey through residential areas in the northeast direction.
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has observed in the past 24 hours that the leading edge of the flow has been advancing at a rate of about 10 yards per hour, with the exception of between 2 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, when the flow slowed to about 5.5 yards per hour. Flow rates however, continue to be sporadic and vary.
An 11:30 a.m. update from a HVO field crew says that the lava flow front is approximately 40-50 yards wide and gets wider further back from the flow front.
It has also been noted by HVO that new breakouts continue to occur upslope of the leading flow within about 1.9 miles of the flow front. These breakouts are being closely monitored by HVO scientists.
Hawai’i County Civil Defense administrator Darryl Oliveira discussed the breakouts during a media briefing on Wednesday morning.
Two main breakouts above the flow are being monitored closely. One breakout is moving in a more northerly direction and the other is moving more south.
“The one on the south has somewhat of an eastern turn to it, is moving towards the one structure we keep referring to at the very top of the fence line. It’s the same property that the initial utility farm building burn yesterday, so this is the actual residence on the property,” Oliveira explained. “The active flow front there is moving very slowly but it is active with red lava on the edge. It was about 100 or so feet from the structure itself.
“The other lobe or breakout to the north is moving in some forested area along the fence line of a property and would also likely be expected to turn and come down. Further behind, above Apa’a Street, there are additionally breakouts but nothing that is imposing any immediate threats.”
The flow front is currently on a residential parcel and about 100-150 yards from a home and warehouse area traveling through a grassy area of the property.
Smoke conditions in the area are moderate with moderate trade winds from the northeast that have been pushing smoke in the south-southwest direction.
Burning activity has involved a variety of materials including tires that burned yesterday. Materials that continue in the path today include metal and various vegetation.
Smoke conditions in the surrounding areas have the possibility of increasing, and any materials that can pose a threat are being removed by residents. Residents who live down wind and have history of respiratory conditions are advised to take necessary precautions and to remain indoors.
Civil Defense will issue additional advisories should the need arise.
Janet Babb with HVO commented on the status on the flow front in relation to the ocean during Wednesday’s briefing stating that, “the distance of the flow front from the ocean is about six miles, and in looking at the topographic map the topography actually flattens out slightly as the closer you get to the ocean.”
With concern of the flow’s proximity to Highway 130 and advancement down slope, Oliveira commented on the concerns during the briefing stating that, “discussions are ongoing with state highways, our department of public works, engineers, and federal highways on any alternative protective measures in the breaching of the highway to allow the flow to go through, if that’s going to be effective, in allowing it to take its natural course, which might allow for a quicker recovery of Highway 130 if, and when, the flow stops or when it is safe to reconstruct anything to reestablish Highway 130 as another transportation road. There is a lot of discussion taking place on what measures might be, before and after impact on Highway 130, as well as whether or not to allow it to continue naturally and do what it does.
The flow location, direction, and advancement currently has residents in the flow path placed on an evacuation advisory and they have been notified of the possible need for evacuation. Residents in the down slope area of the flow will continue to be kept informed of the flow status and advancement.
It has been the intent of Civil Defense to allow residents of the affected area to take part in the closure process, should lava flow through their property, damaging structures and destroying their homes.
“We have Civil Defense, along with other safety personnel on the ground, with the residents. It’s our intent to be on everyone’s property with them if and when they are affected so that we can guide them through what’s happening, coordinate with Hawai’i Electric Light in disconnection of any power or utilities, and to prepare the homeowner for what’s likely to happen and what they might see, as well as support them as they go through the process of seeing their property effective and essentially taken,” Oliveira said.
The closure of Pahoa Village Road between Apa’a Street and the Post Office remains in effect.
Motorists are asked to use extra caution along Highway 130 as they near the Post Office Road intersection.
It is also advised that residents of the restricted areas refrain from bringing unauthorized people into the restricted area.
Close observations of flow activity will continue to take place around the clock by Civil Defense and public safety personnel.