Lava approaching charter school

  • U.S. Geological Survey photo A view from Bryson's quarry around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday night looking uprift past Halekamahina, an older ash cone, to fissure No. 8, which is creating the glow behind the cone. Bright areas indicate incandescent lava, with the brightest areas showing the trace of the lava channel.

CORRECTION: The number of people registered by FEMA and grant amount is as of Tuesday. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the numbers were by Wednesday’s close of business. The Tribune-Herald regrets the error.

Much of the lava from Kilauea volcano’s lower East Rift Zone has changed course on the lower end of the flow, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

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“There’s some going to the ocean but the majority of the flow from fissure 8 is going to the west of Kapoho crater,” Janet Snyder, Mayor Harry Kim’s spokeswoman said, citing the morning briefing from HVO geophysicist Jim Kauahikaua. “The flow front is a little further than (Highway) 137, going to Ahalanui (Beach Park, also known as “Warm Pond”) and Kua O Ka La charter school.”

Snyder said the lava was less than 2,000 feet from Kua O Ka La, which is on Kaimu-Kapoho Road. The school, which is on summer break, moved its classes to Hilo since being threatened by lava from the current eruption, which started May 3.

There have been what Snyder referred to as “ooze-outs” in the north end of the flow front in Kapoho and it’s possible, but not confirmed, that another structure was destroyed by lava.

Trade winds have returned and are expected to remain through the week.

Another heavy rainfall is expected this week in Leilani Estates, which experienced thundershowers enhanced by the lava’s heat the past two Mondays, with about 10 inches of rainfall.

Another collapse-explosion occurred at Kilauea’s summit at 5:46 a.m. today. The energy released by the event was equivalent to a magnitude-5.3 earthquake, according to HVO.

“Interestingly, it’s been 44 hours since the last one, so there’s been more of an interval,” Snyder said. “The shaking seemed less than normal, the gas emissions were underwhelming.”

Beginning this morning, U.S. Geological Survey personnel are conducting helicopter overflights of Volcano village, Volcano Golf and Country Club and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to map ground deformation. Flights began at about 7 a.m. and are expected to continue throughout the morning.

The Disaster Recovery Center remains open seven days a week at Keaau High School Gym, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekends. There are buses between both the Keaau and Pahoa evacuation centers and the DRC.

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As of Tuesday’s close of business, 2,114 individuals have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance, with $2,814,800 in grants approved.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.