Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hawaii's Mt. Kilauea may force residents to evacuate

Residents living near Mount Kilauea's danger zone might be forced to evacuate from their homes if the lava flow increases at a frantic rate, geological experts said. Authorities in Hawaii advised the people of Pahoa on Saturday to prepare for a mandatory evacuation that might take place within three to five days depending on the development of the eruption. Based on latest data, the lava size is estimated at 160 to 230 feet wide, more than twice the size of a football field and is moving northeast toward the Pahoa Village Road at a rate of 10 yards per hour. Geologic experts said the 2,000-Fahrenheit lava reached the roadside at 3:50 AM Sunday. According to director of civil defense Darryl Oliveira, authorities have been informing residents personally on the severity of the eruption. He added that Mount Kilauea's activity this year is historically different because it is approaching the center of the communities.

An evacuation notice will be given in advance when the lava flow reaches a rate that will prevent people from leaving faster, Oliveira continued. An update showed the lava was a sixth-mile from the nearby Pahoa village, the remotest residential area in Hawaii County. Geologist Matt Patrick from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the agency cannot provide the exact date when the lava is expected to reach destination as it has been erratic since the eruption in June. Although the volcano is emitting burnt asphalt, officials said it does not pose any health risk due to the wind dispersing fumes on the atmosphere. Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie declared a presidential disaster status on Friday to allow immediate response from federal rescuers and local emergency organizations. Mount Kilauea is the most active volcano in Hawaii, whose lava helped form the island centuries ago. Since 1983, the lava has been flowing south toward Kalapana and Royal Garden residences. However, in the past two years, the volcano was diverting its activity to the northeast.

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