Lava 750 meters from Pohoiki boat ramp

  • USGS photo A massive laze plume rises from the lava ocean entry along the southernmost margin of the fissure No. 8 flow Monday.

CORRECTION 3:52 p.m.: Tonight’s Pahoa meeting is at 5 p.m. An earlier version of the story had an incorrect time. The Tribune-Herald regrets the error.

Lava from Kilauea volcano’s lower East Rift Zone continues to inch its way along the lower Puna coastline toward Isaac Hale Beach Park and Pohoiki boat ramp.

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“The ocean entry has expanded to the west, about 750 meters from the (Pohoiki) boat ramp. The laze plume is directly over the boat ramp,” Janet Snyder, Mayor Harry Kim’s spokeswoman, said today.

Snyder said the county’s Highways Division placed a steel plate over a crack in the Volcano Golf and Country Club road and a sign to let drivers know the crack is there.

She said Kim “asked people to be aware of unusual things like cracks in the road (and) utility poles that are a little tilted, just because he wants people to be aware of conditions, with all these quakes that are taking place in Volcano.”

Fissure 8 continues to erupt lava into the perched channel leading northeastward from the vent. The channel is full but not quite up to the rim; there were no significant overflows this morning. Despite no visible surface connection to the fissure 8 channel, lava continues to ooze out at several points on the 6 km (3.7 mi) wide flow front into the ocean. Explosions were reported from the main ocean entry this morning with at least one being quite strong.

According to the National Weather Service a weak area of low-pressure tropical disturbance was about 650 miles southeast of Hilo this morning. NWS said there is a 20 percent chance it will become a tropical cyclone. The front is moving westward between 10 and 15 mph and is expected to pass about 350 miles south of the Big Island, but showers and increased winds are forecast to occur starting Wednesday.

Heavy rains and high wind gusts of up to 25 mph are expected in the Puna area starting Wednesday morning and continuing throughout the day. This could cause various issues at the shelters, including evacuee tents and tarps being damaged or destroyed.

Last Saturday, heavy rains caused the Pahoa evacuation shelter to be inundated to the point that shelter roads were flooded and inaccessible. Similar effects could occur Wednesday.

Snyder said county Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said those who have remained in Leilani Estates should anticipate dead albizia trees falling if winds increase significantly.

As of close of business Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency had registered 2,240 people seeking disaster relief and had approved $3,909,643 in funding.

A community lava meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. tonight at Pahoa High School cafeteria.

And Thursday night at 6 p.m., a community meeting is scheduled at Pahala Community Center to discuss the effects of explosive events and emissions from Halema‘uma‘u Crater.

The U.S. Geological Survey will provide a presentation. Staff from Civil Defense, the State Highways Division and the County Department of Public Works will be on hand as well to discuss roads and evacuation routes.

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The issues of sheltering and personal preparedness will also be on the agenda.

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

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