Official count of homes destroyed reaches 700

  • U.S. Geological Survey photo This aerial photo, taken Sunday, shows the laze plume from lava entering the ocean at Kapoho.

The official tally of homes destroyed by lava from the eruption of Kilauea volcano that started May 3 is now 700.

That’s according to Janet Snyder, spokeswoman for Mayor Harry Kim.

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She said of the four previously remaining homes in Kapoho Beach Lots, one has been consumed by lava, “so as far as we know, three still are standing.”

Snyder said a large area of thundershowers remains “parked over Leilani Estates” subdivision. She said it is similar to the thunderstorms from July 2, when heat from fissure No. 8 and the lava flow to Kapoho, plus moisture from the laze plume entering the ocean, fed into a low-pressure system, causing localized lightning and thunder and heavy showers.

According to the National Weather Service website, rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour occurred along Highway 132 east of Pohoiki Road. A flood advisory was issued at 5:21 a.m. but was cancelled at 8:45 a.m.

Winds are light and variable but tradewinds are forecast to return Tuesday.

“Emissions may drift a little westerly, down toward the south and west,” Snyder said.

Meanwhile, an early morning overflight by Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory showed fountaining at fissure No. 8 remaining active, but the lower part of the lava flow is less active than before. The southern edge of the flow is 1/4 mile from Ahalanui Beach Park, also known as “Warm Pond.” According to Snyder, it’s “a very weakly advancing flow.”

Fissure No. 22 is “weakly spattering,” Snyder said.

According to county Parks and Recreation Director Roxcie Waltjen, 219 people remain in the two shelters, 185 in the Pahoa Community Center and 34 in the Shipman Gym in Keaau. Snyder said all who had been staying at the Pahoa Senior Center have been moved into the tiny homes called microshelters.

The Disaster Recovery Center at Keaau High School Gym has remained active, with 144 visitors on Sunday, 27 of those repeat visitors.

“We’re still getting new people coming into the DRC,” Snyder said. “That tells us we need to do a better job letting people know these services are available.”

At close of business Sunday, 2,040 people have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and more than $2.3 million dollars in assistance grants have been approved.

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A community meeting and informational update is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday at Pahoa High School cafeteria.

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

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