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Lava about 700 meters from park, boat ramp

  • USGS photo During Tuesday morning's overflight, USGS scientists captured this image of sunrise above Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone.

Lava from Kilauea volcano’s lower East Rift Zone eruption continues to edge its way toward Isaac Hale Beach Park and Pohoiki boat ramp this morning, according to officials.

“The western edge hasn’t moved much, maybe 50 meters closer to Pohoiki,” Janet Snyder, Mayor Harry Kim’s spokeswoman, said this morning. That would put lava at about 700 meters — less than a half-mile — from the county beach park and state-run boat ramp.

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Snyder said Kim is urging government officials and emergency workers to “really educate ourselves on the hazards of laze, thereby helping the community to understand how hazardous laze is, as hydrochloric acid is produced by lava going into salt water.”

“It’s dangerous getting close to the coast where this stuff is happening, definitely something people need to be aware of,” she said.

A collapse-explosion occurred at Halema‘uma‘u Crater at 1:28 a.m. today, resulting in a lava flow increase at fissure No. 8 and at least one structure on Nohea Street in Leilani Estates destroyed, Snyder said.

“The structure that was lost was in the mandatory evacuation zone, about three blocks from Pomaikai Street on Nohea,” Snyder said. “The surge was large enough that it went to the west of the Kapoho cone to the ocean entry.”

A tropical weather disturbance was about 400 miles south-southwest of Hilo this morning, according to the National Weather Service.

“We don’t expect any landfall, frequent heavy showers (are forecast) today, especially in Pahoa, Leilani (and) Nanawale from the (heat) influences from the lava channel,” Snyder said.

Tradewinds are expected to return Thursday.

The Disaster Recovery Center is open seven days a week at Keaau High School. Weekday hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Weekend hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

As Tuesday, the Federal Emergency Management Center had registered 2,273 individuals for disaster relief assistance, with $4,003,176 in funds approved.

A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday 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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