Lava Incursion to Pahoa Imminent
After a period of inactivity the June 27th flow from the Pu’u O’o crater of Kilauea has resumed a rapid flow, covering about 300 yards in the past day and a half. It’s now less than 150 yards from Apa’a Street, and advancing at about 10 yards per hour. It’s expected to cut the street near the Pahoa Solid Waste Transfer Station within the next day.
The transfer station will be closed shortly. At the current rate of advance, the flow will cut Pahoa Village Road within a week, and then the Highway 130 bypass a few days after that, severing the link between Lower Puna and the rest of Hawaii Island. The two main alternate routes, the reconstructed Railroad Avenue and Government Beach Road will buy residents several weeks more, but they are also in the flow path. If the flow were to continue all the way to the sea, the only way out of Lower Puna would be along Chain of Craters Road and through Volcanoes National Park, turning the 20 minute trip to Hilo into 2 hours and 60+ miles of narrow, winding roads never built to withstand that volume of traffic. Since Pahoa is mostly a tourist town and lower Puna is very rural, many residents of the area work in the Hilo area. Commute traffic on Highway 130 is already pretty bad; if it’s cut those people will be pretty thoroughly screwed.
Maps and photos at Hawaii247.com