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Evacuations continue as lava flow front splits into two lobes

  • Video by U.S. Geological Survey

    A UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) mission on May 31 filmed details of the dramatic changes occurring within Halemaumau crater at Kilauea's summit since explosive eruptions of ash and gas and ongoing wall collapse began in mid-May.

  • Video by Dept. of Land and Natural Resources

    Work on an alternate emergency route through Chain of Craters-Kalapana Road that began on Wednesday is expected to be completed for emergency use on Saturday.

  • Video by Andrew Gomes / Honolulu Star-Advertiser

    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 / Honolulu Star-Advertiser

    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 U.S. Geological Survey

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

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Night view of lava erupting from fissure 8, Thursday, from the Leilani Community Association playground in Leilani Estates.

  • U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    A pair of radar amplitude images that were acquired by the Italian Space Agency’s Cosmo-SkyMed satellite system illustrate changes to the caldera area of Kilauea Volcano that occurred between May 23 and May 31.

  • U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY / HVO

    The fissure 8 fountains remained robust this morning with no significant decline in the amount of lava feeding multiple flow lobes.

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    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.

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

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

UPDATE: 8:40 a.m.

HILO >> Emergency responders conducted evacuation efforts Friday night through the early morning hours today as the active lava flow heads northeast toward the intersection of Highway 137 and Highway 132, locally known as Four Corners, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense.

“It has not reached but it’s getting very close,” said spokeswoman Janet Snyder today.

According to geophysicist Jim Kauahikaua of the U.S. Geological Survey, the flow front has split into two lobes with the the northern branch about a 100 yards from Government Beach Road and a southern branch about 500 yards from Green Lake.

Snyder said, “There is a possibility that one of the lobes or branches will reach (Kapoho) Beach Lots.”

There are currently 351 people sheltered at the Pahoa Community Shelter and 53 people at the Keaau Armory located near Herbert Shipman Park.

6:30 a.m.

The flow front from fissure 8 has reached Highway 132 and is about 150 yards from the Four Corners area. It’s possible the front could cross Government Beach Road near Four Corners within hours.

Fissure 8 remains active and is producing a large flow.

Government Beach Road, between Kuna Street and Four Corners, is open to residents only with official credentials. There is no curfew.

FRIDAY, 10 p.m.

Fountaining at Fissure 8 is reaching 180 to 220 feet high and continues to feed a channelized lava flow to the northeast along Highway 132 and down into the Four Corners area. The intersection of Highway 137 and Highway 132 is locally known as Four Corners.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports small overflows from the channel are occurring along its length, including in a few places near the intersection of Highway 132 and Pohoiki Road.

As of 9:50 p.m., the flow front was approximately 0.28 miles from the intersection.

Pele’s hair and other lightweight volcanic glass from Fissure 8 are falling downwind of the fissure and gathering in Leilani Estates.

6:45 p.m.

The active lava flow front has reached Highway 132 and is a 1/2 mile from the “Four Corners” area. The intersection of Highway 137 and Highway 132 is locally known as Four Corners.

The flow from fissure 8 may cross Government Beach Road near Four Corners within hours, said the Hawaii Civil Defense.

Government Beach Road, between Kuna Street and Four Corners, is open to residents only with official credentials. There is no curfew.

Also, the Pahoa post office is open during normal business hours and has temporary Sunday hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for mail and package distribution only.

High Bacteria Count at Puako Middle of Lot

The state Health Department has posted a high bacteria advisory for waters off Puako Middle of Lot on the Big Island.

Levels of 384 per 100 milliliters of enterococci were detected during routine beach monitoring.

The advisory is posted because testing for enterococci indicate that potentially harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, or parasites may be present in the water. Swimming at beaches with pollution in the water may make you ill.

Potentially harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, or parasites may be present in the water, according to the state Health Department, and swimming at beaches with pollution in the water may make one ill.

Children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are the most likely populations to develop illnesses or infections after coming into contact with polluted water, usually while swimming.

While swimming-related illnesses can be unpleasant, they are usually not very serious, require little or no treatment or get better quickly upon treatment, and have no long-term health effects.

Signs have been posted, and the advisory will remain in effect until water sample results no longer exceed the threshold level of 130 enterococci per 100 milliliters.

Updates are available at this link.

2:25 p.m.

HILO >> A great majority of the steam and ash plume from the lava lake at the Kilauea summmit is gone, marking an important change in the eruption activity, a U.S Geological Survey geophysicist said at a briefing today.

Kyle Anderson of USGS said it’s too soon to ascertain what that change means. “I think it’s still too soon to determine its significance.”

“It’s possible that new explosions will blast through the rubble at the bottom of the event. These may or may not be larger than previous explosions,” Anderson said. “It’s also possible that the vent could become permanently blocked, ending explosions entirely.”

As the lava lake began to recede on May 2, the USGS had warned of possible violent eruptions should the magma at the summit drain below the water table, causing blockage to the conduit and steam pressure buildup.

A lava flow, meanwhile, to the northeast along Highway 132 was reportedly advancing at a rate of about 100 yards per hour within the last few hours as of 11 a.m. today, according to geologist Janet Babb of the USGS.

Babb cautioned the rate of advance changes frequently.

1:45 p.m.

No tsunami is expected from a 4.4 magnitude earthquake reported in the summit region of Kilauea this afternoon.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported the earthquake at 1:37 p.m. and some areas may have experienced shaking.

Noon

The lava flow from fissure 8 in Leilani Estates was moving at a rate of about 100 yards per hour this morning, and if it continues at that rate, it will reach “Four Corners” by mid-afternoon today, according to a county official. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said fissure 8 is very active and producing a large flow.

The intersection of Highway 137 and Highway 132 is locally known as “Four Corners.” If it crosses Highway 137 as it appears to be poised to do, it will isolate more than 500 homes in the Kapoho area.

Residents in Vacationland, Kapoho Beach Lots and areas near Highway 137 have been advised to evacuate or risk isolation.

Shelters at Keaau Community Center and the Sure Foundation Church have been relocated to the Keaau Armory, located in the back of Herbert Shipman Park off of Highway 11. The shelter at Pahoa Community Center remains open, and all shelters are pet friendly.

The Pahoa post office is open until 2 p.m. today to distribute mail and packages to evacuees and residents experiencing delays in mail delivery.

11:30 a.m.

HILO >> Hawaii island Mayor Harry Kim plans to help refugees from the May 3 Kilauea eruption by launching a rapid re-housing initiative comparable to the resettlement effort that rolled out after a tsunami devastated portions of Hilo in 1960.

Kim told listeners in a briefing at the Hawaii County Civil Defense headquarters this morning that the authorities in 1960 developed a strategy called the Kaikoo Plan, which was completed within six months, said Kim’s spokeswoman Janet Snyder.

That plan resulted in new housing in Waiakea outside the tsunami inundation area for people who had been displaced, the development of the Kaikoo Mall in urban Hilo, and the creation of what is now known as the Kanoelehua Industrial area in Waiakea.

“Harry says he’s going to make a whole new community for the people of Puna, to give them hope that there’s a better tomorrow,” Snyder said. “He says, ‘If they could create a plan in six months, so can we.’”

The May 23, 1960 tsunami was triggered by a huge earthquake in Chile and killed 61 people. It demolished much of downtown Hilo and wiped out a neighborhood known as Shinmachi town. Shinmachi, which stood on what is now open space in Wailoa State Park, was never rebuilt.

Snyder said she did not have any immediate information on specific plans for additional housing for evacuees.

The county is continuing the evacuation today of the Kapoho area — including the Vacationland subdivision and homes along Highway 137 — as lava from a fissure in Leilani Estates continued its advance to within about a mile of the last evacuation route out of the area.

The lava is approaching the intersection of Highway 137 and Highway 132, a spot that is locally known as “Four Corners.” If it crosses Highway 137 as it appears to be poised to do, it will isolate more than 500 homes in the Kapoho area.

The lava flow from fissure 8 in Leilani was moving at a rate of about 100 yards per hour this morning, and if it continues at that rate, it will reach Four Corners by mid-afternoon today, according to a county official.

Map of Mandatory Evacuation Order by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

Kilauea Lower East Rift Zone Fissures and Flows, May 31 by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

Map details shown here are accurate as of the date/time noted. Shaded purple areas indicate lava flows erupted in 1840, 1955, 1960, and 2014-2015. (see large map)

The lava has already forced the evacuation of much of the Leilani Estates subdivision and all of Lanipuna Gardens subdivision, which between them had more than 800 homes.

So far, lava from the Leilani eruption has destroyed 87 homes, county officials reported today.

7:30 a.m.

A fissure 8 lava flow heading has been progressively accelerating and was less than a mile from Four Corners at 6:30 a.m.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials did a flyover at 6:30 a.m. and said the lava flow was 0.84 miles above Four Corners and had moved 100 yards in one hour.

6:45 a.m.

Hawaii County Civil Defense officials remind residents of Leilani Estates that they have until noon today to leave the mandatory evacuation area, which includes areas east of Pomaikai Street in their subdivision.

The agency said that people remaining in the evacuation area after the deadline do so at their own risk and with the possibility that emergency responders may not be able to assist them.

5 a.m.

The fissure 8 lava flow continues its advance toward Four Corners, though the pace of the flow increased slightly earlier this morning.

Now approximately 1 mile above Four Corners, the flow moved 50 yards between 2:43 a.m. and 3:43 a.m. after having moved 65 yards between 11:53 p.m. Thursday and 1:53 a.m. today, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Fissure 8 also continues to produce large lava fountains up to 260 feet. A small spatter cone is forming on the downwind side of the fountain and was about 100 feet high as of 11 p.m. Thursday, the HVO said. The fountains are feeding a major flow field heading north through Leilani Estates and then northeast along the course of Highway 132.

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