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Kilauea lava keeps flowing as Pahoa prepares

    Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists conduct a very-low frequency)survey to measure the rate of lava flowing through the lava tube on Monday.
  • consisting of many small
    A ground-level view shows the flow of pāhoehoe lava
    This aerial photo taken Monday shows the flow front burning through a vacant

The lava flow in Puna advanced about 270 yards to the northeast since Monday, Hawaii County Civil Defense officials said after an overflight of the flow Tuesday morning.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory also released new photos and video of the flow taken Monday. The photos and videos show scientists measuring the rate of the flow through a lava tube and the movement of the flow as it entered a vacant, forested lot in the northwest corner of the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision.

Scientists used a radar gun to measure the speed of the lava flow through a tube and estimated a rate of about 1,500 gallons a second.

As of Monday afternoon, the flow had advanced about 960 feet into the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision.The front of the flow was about 100 yards wide, but it does not post an immediate threat to homes in the subdivision.

There is no brushfire threat at this time and all burning is limited to the vegetation that is in direct contact with the flow. Smoke conditions were moderate to heavy Tuesday morning over the Kaohe area and may vary depending on wind conditions. 

Meanwhile, work continues to prepare unpaved, defunct roads to be used as alternate routes if lava reaches a major highway. 

Officials say it’s possible slow-moving lava will cross Highway 130, which could cut residents off from the rest of the island. 

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory spokeswoman Janet Babb says the speed of lava depends on the supply of magma and what’s going on inside the volcano.

Observatory scientists flew over the flow Monday and said lava is about 3 miles from the highway.

Scientists estimate the flow could reach Apa’a Road in 15 days and to the Pahoa Village Road in Pahoa within 20 days. Both roads are upslope of Highway 130.

In an update Tuesday morning, scientists said the flow front was 2.1 miles from Apa’a Road.

Scientists said the front of the flow was about 9.6 miles from its source in the Pu’u ‘O’o vent.

The full length of the flow, including bends, is about 11 miles.

Residents in the Puna district will get another opportunity to hear about how they could be affected by lava from Kilauea volcano at a meeting Thursday night at the Pahoa High School cafeteria with Hawaii County Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists.

The county is also inviting residents to visit a newly established information center at the Pahoa Community Center for answers to any of their questions.

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