Lava Nears First Home in Hawaii

October 28, 2014

Hawaii officials will make arrangements for those living in the path of a lava flow to watch the destruction of their homes.

That accommodation is being made to “provide for a means of closure,” Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira said Monday. “You can only imagine the frustration as well as … despair they’re going through.”

Dozens of residents have been told they might have to evacuate as lava from Kilauea heads toward their homes.

The lava was about 100 yards from a home on Monday, officials said.

The lava crossed Apaa Street on Sunday in Pahoa Village, considered a main town of the Big Island’s isolated and rural Puna district. It was getting dangerously close to Pahoa Village Road, which goes straight through downtown.

Hawaii volcanoThe flow advanced about 275 yards from Sunday morning to Monday morning, moving northeast at about 10 to 15 yards per hour. At other times, the lava slowed to about 2 yards per hour or sped up to about 20 yards per hour, depending on topography, said Janet Babb, a spokeswoman for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Teams of scientists from the observatory were walking alongside the flow day and night to provide updates, she said. At 11:15 a.m. Monday, the flow front was 580 yards from Pahoa Village Road.

Officials closed the Pahoa Village Road between Apaa Street and Post Office Road to everyone except residents.

Those living downslope of the flow are under an evacuation advisory. Most residents have left or have made arrangements to go somewhere else if necessary. Oliveira said he doesn’t anticipate having to issue a mandatory evacuation order.

The couple living in the house closest to the flow have left but have been returning periodically to gather belongings, Oliveira said. “They are out of the property and awaiting the events to unfold.”

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