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‘You are at risk of being isolated,’ Civil Defense warns residents near Highway 132 as lava advances

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  • Hawaii Army National Guard Major Jeff Hickman describes the advance of lava from vent 7, which advanced 30 yards over the last 24 hours leading up to midday Sunday. (Video by Andrew Gomes, Star-Advertiser)

  • Fissure 8 was fountaining to heights of 200 feet at times today, and feeding a lava flow that was traveling to the northeast. (Video courtesy U.S. Geological Survey)

  • Hawaii Army National Guard Major Jeff Hickman talks about a new vent, fissure 24, that opened up Sunday in Leilani Estates. (Video by Andrew Gomes, Star-Advertiser)

  • An update on the situation this week on Hawaii island. (Video courtesy U.S. Geological Survey)

  • Video by USGS

    Every day, a team of USGS scientists canvass areas along Kilauea Volcano's east Lower Rift Zone.


    A large fountain of lava from fissure 8 was seen, Tuesday, from the end of Luana St. in Leilani Estates in Puna.


    Lava encroaches on Highway 132 today, view to the southwest.


    The National Guard took the media out on a tour of the lava sites in Leilani Estates. Jeff Hickman, public affairs officer for Hawaii National Guard, stood in front of fissure 7, Sunday, on Leilani Ave. talking about the dangers of getting too close to the lava flow. He said this is as close to the eruption that we could go to be safe. Air quality conditions indicated it was completely safe.


    Map of the Kilauea Lower East Rift Zone fissures and flows as of Monday afternoon.


    Lava from fissure 8 flowed over Pohoiki Road, Monday, between Leilani Estates and the Puna geothermal plant. A USGS scientist and national guardsman walked toward the flow to check the air quality.


    Highway 132 near Pohoiki Road past Pahoa was closed this morning due to lava.


    Tephra was seen at the intersection of Leilani and Kupono streets this morning, looking toward the east. Tephra is the general name given to anything thrown into the air during a volcanic eruption. It can range from individual ash particles all the way to volcanic bombs.

UPDATE: 7:15 a.m.

“Vigorous” eruption of lava continues from the lower East Rift Zone fissure system near the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials.

Fountaining from fissure 8 remains strong, reaching heights exceeding 200 feet, with secondary fountains reaching up to 60 feet. The fountaining continues to feed a lava flow along Highway 132.

The fissure 18 flow also remains active, HVO officials said, moving toward Highway 137 at less than 100 yards per hour. Sporadic bursts of activity were observed from fissures 7 and 15.

Pele’s Hair and other lightweight volcanic glass resulting from fissure 8’s fountaining are falling to the west of the fissure on Leilani Estates. However, winds would carry the lighter particles farther away.

Winds are forecast to distribute vog around Hawaii island today.

6:30 a.m.

Hawaii County Civil Defense reiterated their evacuation advisory for residents of Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland as lava from several fissures continued its advance toward the Kapoho area.

The following policies are in effect due to the lava activity:

>> Beach Road is restricted to outbound traffic from Four Corners to Hawaiian Beaches to allow for evacuation.

>> Residents close to volcanic activity should remain alert and be ready to voluntarily evacuate if necessary.

5 a.m.

The fissure 8 lava flow has left Highway 132 near Noni Farms Road and is following the steepest path toward Four Corners, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials said in a 2:30 a.m. post.

The flow rate has been clocked recently at up to 200 yards per hour. Fountaining from the fissure remains strong.

1:50 a.m.

Hawaii County Civil Defense alerted Lower Puna residents that the lava flow near Highway 132 is advancing rapidly, and could block the area of 4 Corners within 4 to 6 hours.

“Residents in the Kapoho area, including Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland, are advised to evacuate. You are at risk of being isolated,” the Civil Defense notice at 1:30 a.m. warned.


10 p.m.

Residents on Noni Farms Road and Halekamahina Road have been told by Civil Defense to evacuate immediately due to a fast-moving lava flow.

The warning covers all residents and businesses near Highway 132 at the 5-mile marker and immediate surrounding area.

Shelters are open at the Pahoa Community Center, Keaau Community Center and the Sure Foundation Church.

6 p.m.

Lava has crossed Highway 132 and is closed from Lava Tree State Park to Four Corners, Civil Defense officials said tonight.

Hawai‘i Electric Light Co. also reports that lava destroyed their equipment on Highway 132, causing a power outage in the Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots area. The area will be without power over an extended period of time.

Due to the lava activity the following policies are in effect:

>> Only residents with placards are allowed to access Highway 137 beyond Four Corners.

>> Residents close to any volcanic activity should remain alert and be prepared to voluntarily evacuate if necessary.

The Dept. of Health has changed the venue for Wednesday’s meeting to discuss vog and ash exposure in the Kau District. It will be held at the Robert Herkes Gym and Emergency Shelter in Pahala at 5:30 p.m.

Kilauea Lower East Rift Zone Fissures and Flows, May 29 by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

Map as of 6 p.m., May 29. Details shown here are accurate as of the date/time noted—and could have changed rapidly since that time. Shaded purple areas indicate lava flows erupted in 1840, 1955, 1960, and 2014-2015. (Click here to see larger map.)

5:20 p.m.

Hawai‘i Electric Light Co. officials said that some lower Puna customers will be experiencing extended power outages after lava damaged or destroyed more than 400 poles and other equipment in the area.

Electricity has been cut off to:

>> Kapoho, including Vacationland Hawaii and Kapoho Beach Lots.

>> Lanipuna Gardens.

>> Leilani Estates from Moku to Mohala streets including all connecting roads.

>> Areas along Highway 132

The company said it is is evaluating options to serve Vacationland Hawaii and Kapoho Beach Lots areas after eruption activities cease.

All work to restore electricity service to areas that lost power due to lava will be performed after a damage assessment is complete, Hawai’i Electric Light Co. officials said.

2:30 p.m.

State conservation officers have arrested a New York state couple for allegedly violating park closure and evacuation orders in an active lava zone.

Department of Land and Natural Resources officials said that the couple Monday night bypassed a security check-point on Highway 132, parked near the closed Lava Tree State Monument and walked “into an area of intense active lava flow.” The man and woman told officers from DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement that a resident told them how to get around the check-point.

The pair was cited for loitering and refusal to evacuate during a pending disaster, according to a DLNR news release.

Officers also cited a boat owner for boat safety equipment violations after the boat was tied up at the closed Pohoiki Boat Ramp and was unable to return to the Wailoa Small Boat Harbor in Hilo.

All of the citations issued Monday are petty misdemeanors, but can carry higher penalties because they happened during a disaster situation, officials said.

“The volcano emergency is an ever-changing situation,” said Jason Redulla, acting chief of the DLNR division. “People who ignore closures and warnings from police, fire and civil defense authorities not only put themselves in potentially life-threatening situations, but they are doing the same to our officers and emergency first-responders.”


HILO >> Puna Geothermal Venture has completed work to prepare the rest of its power plant near Pahoa to be overrun by lava, Hawaii County officials announced this morning.

The company has plugged and cemented all its geothermal energy production wells as of this morning, the county said.

In addition, PGV has flushed its network of pipes that connect wells to a variety of equipment that includes turbines that produce electricity to make the entire facility safe in the face of advancing lava flows.

Two of three wells previously sealed up by PGV were buried by lava between Sunday evening and Monday morning, and the company on Monday was working to seal up its few remaining production wells.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said in a statement this morning that the company worked hard to carry out its lava protection plan.

“The work they did was tremendous, and the relief to the community is tremendous,” he said.

County officials said Monday there was no release of any dangerous hydrogen sulfide gas from the wells buried by lava, as some feared might happen if lava breached the well shafts that tap steam and hot water several thousand feet down.

This morning, lava this morning was largely coming from fissure 8 that reactivated in the Leilani Estates subdivision near the power plant. At least two other fissures were active with lava production.

Lava crossed Pohoiki Road again at 5 a.m. this morning and was within several hundred yards of Highway 132. In response, the county closed the highway at about 1:30 a.m. That leaves Beach Road as the only access into lower Puna.

The county also closed Issac Hale Beach Park today after reopening it Monday to use for recreation.

Overnight, lava in Leilani Estates likely destroyed at least two homes but maybe more, the county reported. That follows the loss of 10 homes overnight Sunday. Public safety officials are working on getting a better assessment of homes impacted between Monday evening and this morning.

One new product of the fountaining lava this morning was Pele’s hair, harmful fine strands of volcanic glass fibers that are so abrasive that they can scratch car windshields if wiped away using windshield wipers. The fibers, which can lodge in skin along with injuring eyes and lungs, were reported to be falling in the Pahoa area, according to the National Weather Service.

At the summit of Kilauea, there was a major explosion at 1:56 a.m. that propelled ash up an altitude of 15,000 feet, the county reported.

Because of light easterly winds, sulfur dioxide, which is irritating and less of a health concern than hydrogen sulfide gas, continues to affect areas downwind of the pumping lava.

Tradewinds that typically blow the sulfur dioxide away from most East Hawaii populations are expected to return Wednesday.

County officials plan to hold community meetings today and Wednesday: one today at 5 p.m. in Pahoa High School’s cafeteria, and one Wednesday scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Kau High.

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