HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Retail sales diminish when there is a disaster, indeed even when the weather is bad. Covered malls are busy in heat waves and torrential rain, but other stores, not so much. Even stores that sell emergency supplies find that they don't sell much of their other wares. Bottled water sells big, sure, but who's gonna buy food that needs preparation when you're trying to keep your kids occupied in a hotel room?
A hotel room or vacation rental costs money, so someone spending money on temporary lodgings during an evacuation is clearly not going to have a lot of money to spend on something else.
Then there's the whole real estate scene. It's not hard to imagine someone who was planning to retire to the Big Island having second thoughts, even if they were planning to relocate to a community far from the lava. Retirees are important to the Big Island economy because they pay taxes but don't consume a lot of county services.
So there you go, three examples of how an event like this is disruptive to economic normality.