Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Property losses mount on Hawaii's Big Island as lava flow spreads

Hawaii volcano update REUTERSHawaii volcano update Molten lava continues to surge into the streets
Gerardo Duncan | 06 June, 2018, 01:39

Lava from the lower east rift zone of Hawaii's Kīlauea volcano has now destroyed more than 110 homes on the Big Island, with another 30 lost over the weekend as the flow from the month-long eruption cut a path through a residential area in Kapoho Bay. Officials had previously been updating the number of structures burned because it was hard to tell from aerial surveys which were homes or other buildings.

"They're down there, we're seeing them, they're not calling for help yet", said Senator Kai Kahele, who is also a major in the Hawaii Air National Guard.

Lava from a fissure near the volcano entered Kapoho Bay late Sunday or early Monday, forcing billowing clouds of steam into the atmosphere as hot lava hit the cool water of the Pacific Ocean. Kim and Okabe live in Hilo, the county's seat, which is more than an hour drive from the Kapoho area.

While local first responders searched for people trapped in their homes in isolated areas, Hawaii County Civil Defense reported that fewer than a dozen refused evacuation in an area electrical power, water and telephone service are inoperable.

Scientists said a laze plume was blowing inland from the ocean entry but dissipating quickly.

So too have airborne volcanic glass fibers, called "Pele's hair", wispy strands carried aloft by the wind from lava fountains and named for the volcano goddess of Hawaiian myth.

Authorities since Wednesday had been urging residents of the area to leave before lava spewing from a volcanic fissure at the eastern foot of Kilauea reached the area.

Hawaii Civil Defense warned residents to avoid contact with the "laze" steam, which can contain hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles.

Lava has spread onto roads and into neighborhoods since, destroying property and infrastructure.

Fissure 8 is very active and producing a large channelized flow that is filling in Kapoho Bay.

"This could go on for months", she said. Police on Monday said a man sped through a checkpoint near an intersection where lava was approaching. The seven individuals will have to appear in court, Hawaii officials said.

The current activity has been accompanied for weeks by daily explosions of gas and volcanic rock from Kilauea's summit crater as well as earthquakes.

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