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Civil Defense urges residents on Noni Farms Road and Halekamahina Road to evacuate

  • This U.S. Geological Survey photo shows lava fountains from fissure No. 8 at about 7 a.m. Monday.

UPDATED 10:40 p.m.

Residents on Noni Farms Road and Halekamahina Road off of Highway 132 in lower Puna have been told by Hawaii County Civil Defense to evacuate immediately due to a fast-moving lava flow.

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UPDATED 3:28 p.m.

A fast-moving lava flow has crossed Highway 132 in lower Puna, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense.

The lava crossed the road at approximately 2:30 p.m. between Pohoiki Road and the Puna Geothermal Venture access road.

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED

Highway 132 has been closed between Lava Tree State Park and the corner of Highway 137 — also known as “Four Corners” — because of fast moving lava, a county spokeswoman said this morning.

Janet Snyder said Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported lava from the newly reactive fissure No. 8 crossed Pohoiki Road at about 5 a.m. today, and within an hour moved about 500 yards to the northeast, putting it several hundred yards from Highway 132.

That leaves Government Beach Road as the only access road to much of lower Puna.

Isaac Hale Beach Park at Pohoiki has again been closed to the public because of the highway closure after having been reopened Monday.

Fast-moving lava caused another door-to-door warning from authorities to evacuate homes in Leilani Estates Monday evening.

“Fire, police and Public Works had to go through three streets to get people out last night,” Snyder said. “… We’re still saying that 10 houses were lost on Sunday and a couple more yesterday.” She noted those are unofficial figures at this point.

Snyder said lava is also approaching the Puna Geothermal Venture’s access road.

“The goal is to get as much gear as possible out of there and secure the plant,” she said. “All the production wells have been plugged and all but two wells have been plugged and cemented. All have been quenched.”

Snyder said the decrease in trade winds pushed sulfur dioxide (SO2) into Pahoa and up Saddle Road and toward Waikoloa.

A phenomenon called “Pele’s hair” was also reported Monday in Pahoa.

“It’s called lava glass,” Snyder said. “It’s like fiberglass. … If you get them under your skin it’s extremely hard to get out. It’s like a bad, bad splinter. But it’s even worse if you get Pele’s hair in your eyes. … If you (drive) through Pele’s hair, don’t turn your windshield wipers on, because it will scratch your windshield.”

According to Snyder the Department of Health said there hasn’t been a spike in emergency room admissions but there has been an increase in complaints about respiratory conditions.

“(Department of Health) is not reporting any spikes in (emergency room) admissions, but is an increase in complaints about respiratory conditions.”

Tradewinds predicted to return tonight and will push SO2 southwesterly again down to Ka‘u.

A magnitude-4.5 earthquake and a summit eruption occurred at 1:56 a.m. and a summit eruption sent ash plume about 15,000 feet high.

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Community meetings are scheduled for 5 .p.m. today at Pahoa High School cafeteria and at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Robert Herkes Gym and Emergency Shelter Multi-Purpose Room in Pahala.

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