Kapoho: ‘Only four houses left’

  • U.S. Geological Survey photo Near the coast, the northern margin of the flow field is still oozing pasty lava at several points in the area of Kapoho Agricultural and Beach Lots.

CORRECTION: The U.S. Geological Survey said on Twitter the high levels of sulfur dioxide, between 35,000 and 45,000 tons per day, is occurring at the lower East Rift Zone and not at the volcano’s summit. The HVO website noted: “Sulfur dioxide emissions from the volcano’s summit have dropped to levels that are about half those measured prior to the onset of the current episode of eruptive activity.” The Tribune-Herald regrets the error.

Lava from Kilauea volcano continues to consume the remaining homes in Kapoho Beach Lots subdivision, as it has since Monday.

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“Before those houses were lost, there were about 50. Now, there are only four houses left. And of those four, each are within 20 meters of the lava,” Janet Snyder, Mayor Harry Kim’s spokeswoman, said Monday.

The county’s official tally of homes lost in lower Puna during the current eruptive phase that started on May 3 remains at 668, since for reporting purposes, destroyed homes need to be verified using aerial photos reconciled by tax maps.

The actual total of homes lost is likely more than 700.

Snyder said two Oahu state legislators, Sen. Clarence Nishihara and Rep. Matthew LoPresti, were present at Thursday morning’s briefing of emergency workers at Hawaii County Civil Defense headquarters in Hilo.

“They’re getting a flyover of the lava,” Snyder said.

Nishihara is chair of the Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs Committee and vice chair of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health. He also sits as a member on the committees on Agriculture and Environment and Housing. LoPresti is vice chair of the House Transportation Committee and member of the Labor & Public Employment and Finance committees.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that fissure No. 8 continues to be very active and is feeding a lava channel to the ocean at Kapoho. The flow is producing a broad ocean entry along the shoreline, and is also oozing fresh lava at Kapoho Beach Lots and a flow near the “Four Corners” area.

Due to the breakouts of lava near “Four Corners” and within Kapoho Beach Lots, people are reminded that these areas are closed to any access. Be aware that spillovers of the channel and other breakouts are possible on the active flow field. Do not access the active flow field due to extreme hazard.

The was another collapse/explosion at about 10:20 a.m. Wednesday at Kilauea’s summit. Snyder said the amount of sulfur dioxide expelled at the summit yesterday “was high, about 35,000 to 40,000 tons.”

Hawaii County Civil Defense and HVO are hosting a meeting at 6 p.m. today at Cooper Center in Volcano village to update residents on the ongoing situation and hazards at the volcano’s summit.

Disaster assistance is available islandwide to individuals and businesses in Hawaii County that have been affected by the Kilauea eruption.

The Disaster Recovery Center is open seven days a week, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., at Keaau High School Gym. If you need a ride, buses will resume running between the two shelters and the Disaster Recovery Center between 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

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For more resources, please visit the county website at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/lava-related/.

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

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