PAHOA, Hawaii » A lava flow threatening the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island continues to stall at its front edge, though some molten rock is oozing out of its sides.
Hawaii County civil defense officials said in a statement Saturday the lava’s front remains about 480 feet from Pahoa Village Road. This position hasn’t changed since Oct. 30.
But lava is creeping out at several spots upslope of the leading edge. One breakout is moving toward the town’s now-closed refuse transfer station.
Slow-moving lava from Kilauea Volcano has been creeping toward Pahoa for months. The flow has crossed a country road, smothered part of a cemetery and burned down a shed.
Many residents in the projected flow path have evacuated. Many others are ready to evacuate.
Hundreds of Pahoa students displaced by lava have been exploring their new schools in Keaau.
About 850 students who live north of the flow cutting through Pahoa are moving to schools in Keaau. An equal number of students living south of the flow will attend Pahoa schools.
More than 300 of the students visited Keaau high and middle schools for an early look on Friday, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.
Keaau’s existing students stayed home to give the new students from Pahoa an opportunity to learn their way around without being overwhelmed by having to fit into the social scene of a large, bustling high school.
"We wanted it to be a day just for them, to get used to the campus when there aren’t 1,059 other kids around," said Keaau High Principal Dean Cevallos.
Only Keaau High’s student body government representatives were on hand to help make the new students feel welcome.
"I think it’s exciting that we get to meet new friends," sophomore student body secretary Jadelyn Fernando said.
Sophomore student body treasurer Jessica Andres said she could empathize with students being forced to relocate to a strange place well into the school year.
"It’s a new environment to them," she said.
The state Department of Education decided to reassign students and staff after scientists predicted lava from Kilauea would cross both Pahoa’s main road and Highway 130.
In all, 1,700 students and 300 employees are affected in this transition process.