Slow flow a no-show

  • As of Thursday, the lava flow in the Ahalanui area remained about 500 feet from the Pohoiki boat ramp at Isaac Hale Beach Park, left of center. The active ocean entry is a few hundred yards east, to the right of this photograph. (US Geological Survey/Courtesy photo)

HILO — The southern edge of the lava flow front in Isaac Hale Beach Park appeared to have moved little, if at all, toward Pohoiki boat ramp on Thursday.

According to geologist Janet Babb, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory spokeswoman, the lava remained about 500 feet from the ramp.

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“The actual ocean entry was still a few hundred yards east of that flow edge,” Babb said.

In the lower East Rift Zone, lava from fissure No. 8 between Wednesday night and Thursday morning “seemed sluggish, and the lava level in the channel was a bit lower than we’ve seen in recent days,” Babb said.

A collapse-explosion event occurred at Kilauea’s summit at 12:09 p.m. Thursday with a equivalent energy of a magnitude-5.4 earthquake, according to HVO. The lapse between the previous collapse-explosion event at 6:41 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday’s collapse-explosion was about 53.5 hours, which Babb said “is the longest interval between events since May.”

HVO crews reported fluctuations in the channel level, with small overflows occurring in the upper portion of the channel following the summit event.

The state Highways Division continued to survey Highway 11 Thursday near the entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to gather information on how best to repair the roadway, which has sustained cracks and sinkholes associated with the almost constant seismic activity at Kilauea’s summit. The work caused alternating single-lane closures of the highway between the 28- and 32-mile markers.

“They’re using ground-penetrating radar on the roadway,” said Jessica Ferracane, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman. “The speed (limit) has been dropped to 25 miles an hour in some places, but the road is still passable, so that’s the great news.”

Ferracane said the road crew won’t be there today, but added, “Monday, we’ll go back to the one-lane highway as they go back to their work.”

Trade winds are forecast to continue through the weekend, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Ballard.

“A big area of high pressure off to the northeast of the islands is going to keep locally breezy trades blowing,” Ballard said. “So the emissions from the volcano, including vog and laze, would be expected to blow toward the southwest, which is what we’ve seen most of the time over the last few days, with some brief periods where the plume has gotten pulled more toward the west to west-northwest.”

The Department of Human Services announced that short-term food assistance called Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, or D-SNAP, is now available for families and households affected by the ongoing eruption, which began May 3.

“East Hawaii residents face daily disruptions to their lives from the lava flow, and D-SNAP is another option for our teams on the ground to get community members the help they need,” Gov. David Ige said in a statement.

D-SNAP benefits are typically available within 72 hours of approval. Households that qualify may receive one month of benefits, equivalent to the maximum amount of benefits normally issued to a SNAP household of their size.

To apply for D-SNAP, visit application sites located at: South Hilo Processing Center, 1990 Kinoole St., Ste. 109, and West Hawaii Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy., Kailua-Kona.

Individuals and families an apply for D-SNAP Aug. 2. DHS offices are open weekdays 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and closed on Saturday and Sundays. DHS will provide D-SNAP signs at facilities to help residents quickly find the entrance and get assistance. Residents also can get more information by calling 981-2754.

In addition, the county reported a format change in the community meetings which occur Tuesdays at 5 p.m. at Pahoa High School cafeteria. There will be a shortened set agenda, to allow more time for questions from the public and answers by officials regarding the ongoing lava flow.

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“We want to foster a climate of mutual respect and openness,” said Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno. “We want to hear from as many people as possible, while providing vital information at each meeting.”

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

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