Kapoho residents urged to evacuate

  • USGS
  • Brett Walker/USGS This image taken Sunday shows a U.S. Geological Survey scientist documenting a fountaining fissure from Kilauea volcano.

Residents in the Kapoho area, including Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland, are being urged to evacuate their homes as lava from Kilauea volcano threatens to sever Highway 137 and Government Beach Road in the “Four Corners” area.

Janet Snyder, spokeswoman for Mayor Harry Kim, said police, fire and Department of Public Works personnel went through those neighborhoods overnight, going door-to-door and advising people to gather their belongings and leave the area via Beach Road, as the route to Pahoa via Highway 132 was overrun by lava on Tuesday.

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Snyder said this morning Public Works personnel are still on scene “helping people get their stuff out.” She said notifications to residents were completed at about 2:30 a.m.

“People were told that they had about four to six hours, at the current rate of the flow, to get out or lava’s going to him them,” Snyder said. She said she didn’t have a count of how many people were affected by the current notice to evacuate.

“There is a lot of lava,” she said, adding county Civil Defense Director Talmadge Magno went to Four Corners, the intersection of Highways 132 and 137 and Beach Road, at about 1 a.m.

“By the time he reached the Humane Society (in Keaau), he could see the fountain in Leilani (Estates) already,” Snyder said.

Lava from fissure No. 8 put on a spectacular display of nature’s force, with fountains estimated at about 200 feet high.

“The flows are advancing on 137, advancing on Beach Road. They’re saying the flows are about a half-mile from Beach Road and Ahalanui, the warm ponds, ” Snyder said. “And then, there’s flows about a mile (mauka), advancing on Four Corners.

“(Highway) 137 is closed off and it’s for residents only, getting out,” she added. “There’s a roadblock at Kahukai and Beach Road, and it’s one way, getting out” of lower Puna. “Until further notice, this is how things are going to be, until things stabilize.”

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, according to Snyder, said fissure 8 has a major flow and three side lobes.

“The major flow is just past the intersection of Noni Farms Road and 132, and the three other lobes are behind to the northeast, just under three miles from Four Corners,” she said. She added that fissure 18 also has an active flow, about 0.6 miles from Highway 137. There are also minor flows from fissures 22 and 15.

Officials went door-to-door late Tuesday night, advising residents of Noni Farms Road and Halekamahina Road to evacuate.

According to Snyder, there were 341 people checked in at evacuation shelters overnight, 290 at Pahoa Community Center, 44 at Keaau Community Center and seven at Sure Foundation Church in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Snyder said there were no major summit eruptions overnight at Kilauea volcano, but seismic activity continues with numerous small earthquakes.

The northeasterly, or trade winds have returned and a wind advisory has been posted, including for Leilani Estates subdivision.

“It’s 25 to 30 miles per hour,” Snyder said. She said emissions are going to the ocean and toward Ka‘u. “The highest concentration of (sulfur dioxide) is in Leilani.”

The trades are forecast to continue at the present rate until Thursday.

“We will have trades through the weekend, but they’ll be slower, more like 15 to 25 miles an hour,” Snyder said.

A community meeting for Ka‘u residents is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tonight at the Robert Herkes Gym and Emergency Shelter in Pahala, and a community meeting for Puna is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 5, at Pahoa High School cafeteria.

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This story will be updated as needed. See Thursday’s Tribune-Herald for full story.

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

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