Lava flow from spewing fissure threatens escape route on Hawaii's Big Island

06 June, 2018, 01:42 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Hawaii volcano- map of affected area

HONOLULU (AP) _ A lava flow from an erupting volcano has cut off access to Kapoho and Vactionland on Hawaii's Big Island.

Lava early Tuesday destroyed Big Island Mayor Harry Kim's second home in Vacationland, Snyder said.

Those in Kapoho - including the Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland communities - also were ordered out because of the risk of getting trapped by the lava.

The report of mounting damage followed a mandatory evacuation order issued Thursday night for a portion of the Leilani Estates subdivision in the midst of "vigorous lava eruptions" threatening homes, the Civil Defense said. Okabe described the area as a mix of vacation rentals and year-round residences. "A Hawaiian County Fire Department overflight reported that the lava filled the lake and apparently evaporated all the water", the report said.

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The lava itself, extruded from about two dozen fissures that opened on the slope of Kilauea's "eastern rift zone" earlier this month, has also knocked out telephone and power lines and forced the shutdown of a geothermal energy plant. The crew landed and confirmed the three people had no cellphone reception.

A 5.5-magnitude natural disaster struck near the summit of Kilauea early Tuesday, but it was not strong enough to generate a tsunami, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Thousands in the Puna district had to evacuate after lava fissures started opening a month ago.

Officials warned residents about the presence of laze, a potentially unsafe mix of hydrochloric acid, steam and tiny glass particles in the air.

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So too have airborne volcanic glass fibers, called "Pele's hair", wispy strands carried aloft by the wind from lava fountains and named for the volcano goddess of Hawaiian myth.

"This is the hottest lava we've seen during this eruption", Wendy Stovall, a scientist with USGS, told CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now. "However, some areas may have experienced strong shaking", PTWC said in the statement. Police on Monday said a 62-year-old man sped through a checkpoint near an intersection where lava was approaching. "Refusing to evacuate may put you, your family and first responders in danger".

All beach parks in the area, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, are closed.

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