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County warns of cracks in Highway 11 near national park

  • USGS photo This drone photo dated Sunday shows a U.S. Geological Survey scientist observing the lava channel in Kilauea's lower East Rift Zone by moonlight. obscured by clouds.

State and county road crews are closely monitoring the condition of Highway 11 between mile marker 28.5 at the entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and mile marker 31.7 past Namakanipaio campground, the county said in a written statement today.

Cracks are developing in the road because of the nearly constant seismic activity at the summit of Kilauea volcano. Motorists in the area should drive cautiously.

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“This is an important situation. We only have three main highways linking the island — the Saddle (Daniel K. Inouye Highway), Highway 19 and Highway 11,” Janet Snyder, Mayor Harry Kim’s spokeswoman said this morning. “We’re watching it very closely; there’s no question about it.

Snyder said that between 2,000 and 3,000 people live within a 6-mile radius of Volcano and depend on Highway 11 on a daily basis.

They’re going to be doing highway repair work, for sure, at some point,” she said.

Another summit collapse explosion happened Sunday night at 8:54 p.m. creating energy equivalent to a magnitude-5.5 earthquake.

Snyder said the output of lava from fissure No. 8 in Kilauea’s lower East Rift Zone is 100 cubic meters per second.

“The lava level in the channel is quite high,” she said. “Last night, the overflow in the channel was just west of Kapoho Crater. It did not extend beyond the previous flows. Down-slope from that, part of the flow ran over itself.”

Ocean entries are still “very robust,” Snyder said.

The flow front remains about 1/3 mile from Isaac Hale Beach Park and Pohoiki boat ramp, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Enhanced rain showers are happening this morning along the lower East Rift Zone, according to the National Weather Service. Transport winds at about 2,000 feet from a southeasterly direction are moving vog toward the interior of the island.

The official count of homes destroyed by lava remains at 712 since the current eruptive phase began on May 3.

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As of Sunday, there were 168 people staying in the emergency shelters, 133 in Pahoa and 35 in Keaau. Snyder said the numbers continue to decrease.

The Disaster Recovery Center remains open six days a week at Keaau High School Gym. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.