Lava approaching Kua O Ka La Public Charter School

  • During HVO's Tuesday morning overflight, the dramatic difference in landscapes on the northern and southern sides of the fissure 8 lava channel was readily apparent. With dominant trade winds blowing heat and volcanic gases to the southwest, the north side of the lava channel remains verdant, while, in stark contrast, vegetation on the south side has been severely impacted and appears brown and yellow. The fissure 8 cone is obscured by a cloud of steam (top center). (U.S. Geological Survey/Special to West Hawaii Today)

HILO — Much of the lava from Kilauea volcano’s lower East Rift Zone has changed course on the lower end of the flow, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

“There’s some going to the ocean but the majority of the flow from fissure 8 is going to the west of Kapoho crater,” Janet Snyder, Mayor Harry Kim’s spokeswoman said, citing the morning briefing from HVO geophysicist Jim Kauahikaua. “The flow front is a little further than (Highway) 137, going to Ahalanui (Beach Park, aka Warm Pond) and Kua O Ka La charter school.”

ADVERTISING


Snyder said the lava was less than 2,000 feet from Kua O Ka La, which is on Kaimu-Kapoho Road. The school, which is on summer break, moved its classes to Hilo since being threatened by lava from the current eruption, which started May 3.

There have been what Snyder referred to as “ooze-outs” in the north end of the flow front in Kapoho and it’s possible, but not confirmed, that another structure was destroyed by lava.

Tradewinds have returned and are expected to remain through the week.

Another heavy rainfall is expected this week in Leilani Estates, which experienced thundershowers enhanced by the lava’s heat the past two Mondays, with about 10 inches of rainfall.

Another collapse-explosion occurred at Kilauea’s summit at 5:46 a.m. today. The energy released by the event was equivalent to a magnitude-5.3 earthquake, according to HVO.

“Interestingly, it’s been 44 hours since the last one, so there’s been more of an interval,” Snyder said. “The shaking seemed less than normal, the gas emissions were underwhelming.”

Beginning this morning, U.S. Geological Survey personnel are conducting helicopter overflights of Volcano village, Volcano Golf and Country Club and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to map ground deformation. Flights began at about 7 a.m. and are expected to continue throughout the morning.

ADVERTISING


The Disaster Recovery Center remains open seven days a week at Keaau High School Gym, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekends. There are buses between both the Keaau and Pahoa evacuation centers and the DRC.

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