HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - USGS geologists with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory say the Puna lava flow is continuing its path directly toward Pahoa, though the advance rate has slowed considerably in the past few days -- leading them to adjust their projected arrival. They're now forecasting the Puna lava flow will reach Pahoa on November 1.
Hawaii County Civil Defense officials say the lava flow has advanced approximately 45 yards since Monday. According to their Tuesday morning overflight, the flow is still moving northeast and is approximately 0.6 miles from the Apaa Street area near the Pahoa Transfer Station.
Geologists say the Puna lava flow has moved about 285 yards since October 10. They estimate at the average rate of advancement of 81 yd/day, the lava could reach Apaa St. in about 18 days, on November 1. However, experts say the advance rate of the June 27th flow has varied significantly during the past month and week and their projection is subject to change. The next HVO overflight is scheduled for Wednesday, October 15.
Despite a slowdown in the advance rate, USGS geologists say activity along the June 27th lava flow is consistent as lava continues moving through the tube from Pu'u 'O'o crater to the flow front. They say breakouts are mainly scattered across the leading 1.3 miles of the flow, but there are fingers midway along the length of the flow where lava first entered the crack system.
Officials say all burning activity is limited to the vegetation in direct contact with the flow and there is no brush fire threat at this time -- however, smoke conditions were moderate to heavy Tuesday in the Kaohe Homesteads area due to a light wind.
Hawaii County Civil Defense officials say currently all lava flow activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities. Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira says no evacuation is needed at this time and residents will be given adequate notice to safely evacuate should that be necessary. However, officials say due to the unpredictable nature of the lava flow — residents and visitors are advised to listen for Hawaii County Civil Defense updates and advisories on the radio.
Officials also want to remind people that the flow is not visible and cannot be accessed from any public areas. The Ka'ohe Homesteads subdivision is still restricted to property-owners and residents only.
The next lava flow community update meeting will be held with representatives from Hawaii County Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Thursday, October 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pahoa High School Cafeteria.
In addition, the County of Hawaii has established an Incident Command Center and Informational Resource Center at the Pahoa Community Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, contact Hawaii County Civil Defense at (808) 935-0031.
More details tonight on Hawaii News Now.