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Lava viewing hours change; Flow moving slowly

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    Tourists and residents visited the lava viewing area at the Pahoa Transfer Station on the morning of Dec. 28.
    This map overlays a georegistered mosaic of thermal images collected during a helicopter overflight of the distal part of Kilauea's active East Rift Zone lava flow on Monday at about 11:30 a.m. The perimeter of the flow at that time is outlined in yellow. The base image is a satellite image acquired in March 2014 (provided by Digital Globe).
    This view, looking northeast, shows the distal part of the flow, with the flow lobe behind Pahoa Marketplace to the right and the newer north-northeast advancing lobe to the left. The north-northeast lobe is following a drainage that leads to the steepest-descent path that crosses Highway 130 about 1 km (0.6 mi) south of the MakuÔu FarmerÕs Market.

The lava viewing area at the Pahoa Transfer Station changed its hours to open later as a breakout lava flow above the stalled front advanced only 50 yards between Wednesday and Thursday.

Starting Friday, the new hours for tourists and residents who want to view the cooled lava near Apaa Road are from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., instead of opening at 8 a.m.

The adjustment is based on the peak hours of visitation since the lava viewing area opened last month, the county said.

A Civil Defense overflight of the active lava flow showed the two-fingered lava lobe, about 1.6 miles upslope of the Pahoa Marketplace continues to move slowly to the north-northeast on a path that would likely take it to Highway 130 north of the marketplace and about a half-mile south of the Maku’u Farmer’s Market.

The active flow is still more than 2 miles from the highway and does not pose an immediate threat to area residents.

The flow front and lava activity along the southern margin remained stalled Wednesday about 880 yards from the intersection of Pahoa Village Road and Highway 130. The flow front above the Pahoa Marketplace hasn’t advanced since Jan. 2. However, surface lava activity was seen about 300 yards upslope of the front.

Another breakout further upslope — near the True/Mid-Pacific geothermal well pad — was also active Thursday morning

On Wednesday, county officials closed the Railroad Avenue Alternative Access Road for maintenance and to preserve the road. The road was built as an alternate route if lava crosses Highway 130, the main access route between Hilo and Puna. Officials opened the road last month to allow residents to become familiar with it.

The next lava flow community meeting is 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Pahoa High School cafeteria.

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