Lava claims two more houses

  • U.S. Geological Survey photo Fissure No. 8 and Leilani Estates are viewed from the south in this aerial photo taken Monday. Houses in the foreground are located in the southern portion of Leilani Estates. Fissure 8 and surrounding lava and tephra deposits are shrouded in steam, caused by rain water being heated by the warm deposits.

Only one house is left standing in Kapoho Beach Lots as two were destroyed by lava between Monday and this morning, according to authorities.

Janet Snyder, Mayor Harry Kim’s spokeswoman, said it was revealed in the morning briefing of emergency personnel at county Civil Defense headquarters in Hilo, a house in another area along Puna’s lower East Rift Zone may be also endangered by a brush fire set by the lava. She didn’t know where, specifically, that house is. Houses west of the Kapoho cone may also be threatened, Snyder said.

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The official count of homes destroyed by lava during the current eruption, which began May 3, remains at 700. The actual tally is higher, but the count isn’t updated until overflight photos showing homes taken are officially reconciled with county tax maps.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports fissure No. 8 continues to be very active and is feeding a lava channel to the ocean at Kapoho. The channel flow split north and south and expanded upslope of the Four Corners. It appears that the north flow, which was approaching Cinderland Road, has stalled overnight.

The ocean entry showed reduced size late Monday.

Tradewinds have returned, with winds this morning from the northeast between 8-13 mph, with gusts of 25 mph. The tradewinds are forecast to remain through the week, “with seriously increased rainfall right over Leilani” Estates, Snyder said.

The following policies remain in effect:

• Kapoho Beach Lots and Four Corners area are closed to any access.

• Be aware that spill overs of the channel and other breakouts are possible on the active flow field, do not access the active flow field due to extreme hazard.

• There is no immediate threat, persons in areas of active flows are reminded to be on alert and prepared for changes and plan for evacuation.

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The Disaster Recovery Center remains open daily at Keaau High School Gym from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

A lava informational meeting is set for 5 p.m. today at Pahoa High School cafeteria.