(ABOVE PHOTO) USGS photo shows the active flow front, looking west . Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen in the upper left portion of the photograph, partly obscured by smoke.
PUNA, Hawaii – The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has raised the Volcano Alert Level from Watch to Warning, as the June 27th lava flow continues its advance towards Kaohe Homesteads. Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi has also signed an emergency proclamation, declaring a state of emergency. Hawaii County Civil Defense issued a revised update in short order.
From the USGS HVO website:
Volcano: Kilauea (VNUM #332010)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Previous Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE
Issued: Thursday, September 4, 2014, 10:45 AM HST (20140904/2045Z)
Source: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Notice Number: 2014/H1
Location: N 19 deg 25 min W 155 deg 17 min
Elevation: 4091 ft (1247 m)
Area: HI Hawaii and Pacific Ocean
Volcanic Activity Summary: On June 27, 2014, new vents opened on the northeast flank of the Pu‘u ‘O‘o cone that fed a narrow lava flow to the east-northeast. On August 18, the flow entered a ground crack, traveled underground for several days, then resurfaced to form a small lava pad. The sequence was repeated twice more over the following days with lava entering other cracks and reappearing farther downslope. In this way, the flow had advanced approximately 13.2 km (8.2 miles) from the vent, or to within 1.3 km (0.8 miles) of the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve, by the afternoon of September 3. Overnight, lava did not appear to advance farther east within the crack system, but surface flows advanced about 100 m to the northeast. At the average rate of advancement of 250 m/day (820 ft/day) since July 10, we project that lava could reach the Kaohe Homesteads boundary within 5-7 days should lava resume advancing within the crack system.
Kaohe Homesteads is located between the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve and the town of Pāhoa in the Puna District of the County of Hawai`i.
[Volcanic cloud height] SO2, low ash emissions continue from Kīlauea caldera, TFR in place.
[Other volcanic cloud information] none
[Lava flow/dome] June 27th Lava Flow continues to advance.
[Lava flow/dome] Lava Flow from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent could advance to Kaohe Homesteads within a week.
Remarks: The Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent in the East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano began erupting on January 3, 1983, and has continued erupting for more than 31 years, with the majority of lava flows advancing to the south. Over the past two years, lava flows have issued from the vent toward the northeast. The June 27th flow is the most recent of these flows and the first to threaten a residential area since 2010-2011.
Contacts: HVO media contact
Next Notice: A new VAN will be issued if conditions change significantly or alert levels are modified. While this VAN is in effect, regularly scheduled updates are posted at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawai`i.USGS HVO website
The county issued a media release shortly after 11 a.m.
Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said the proclamation allows county authorities to restrict access to Ka‘ohe Homestead roadways so that residents can move safely if an evacuation becomes necessary.
Oliveira stressed that no evacuation has been ordered at this time. He urged residents to finalize their evacuation plans and monitor county Civil Defense updates closely in the days ahead.
Civil Defense employees will continue today to conduct door-to-door visits to each home in Ka‘ohe to explain the situation to residents, and to help them to prepare.
“Only residents will be allowed on the subdivision roads starting today, and we ask that non-residents stay away from the area,” Oliveira said. “The lava cannot be seen from the subdivision, and there is no reason for non-residents to be in the Ka‘ohe subdivision at this time. This is a difficult and stressful time for Ka‘ohe residents, and we ask that everyone show respect and understanding for our Ka‘ohe neighbors.”
Hawai‘i County Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are holding a series of public meetings to update residents on the lava flow in the Wao Kele O Puna area, and the next update will be at 6:30 p.m. on today, Sept. 4 at the Pahoa High School Cafeteria.”Hawaii County media release
We are taking this step to ensure our residents have time to prepare their families, their pets, and their livestock for a safe and orderly evacuation from Ka‘ohe in the event the flow continues to advance.”Mayor Billy Kenoi, via media release
The county included copies of the Mayor Kenoi’s Proclamation, as well as Mayor Kenoi’s Letter to Governor Abercrombie.
Dear Honorable Governor Neil Abercrombie,
On September 4, 2014, the County of Hawai‘i issued an Emergency Proclamation declaring a State of Emergency due to anticipated inundation of lava in the District of Puna, County and State of Hawai‘i, caused by the June 27”‘ lava flow. On September 4, 2014, the United States Geological Survey-Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (“USGS-HVO”) upgraded its alert status from Watch to Warning due to this event. Current projections by USGS-HVO scientist anticipate that the June 27”‘ lava flow will cross Highway 130 in the near future. When this occurs communities south of the crossing will be isolated from the rest of the County as Highway 130 is the only major thoroughfare servicing lower Puna. Government services, including schools, will be affected.
Lower Puna is made up of several residential communities, businesses, industry and farmlands. 2010 Census stated that approximately 8,211 people reside in the area that would be directly under threat of isolation from this flow. These are the subdivisions of Hawaiian Beaches southward to Kalapana. However, the 2010 Census underrepresents the present population since it has been reported that the District of Puna is the fastest growing population in the State.
The County of Hawai‘i in partnership with various state agencies is in the process of establishing alternative access to lower Puna should the lava flow cross Highway 130. However, regulatory statutes and pennitting will impede the development of this needed lifeline to lower Puna and therefore your assistance is humbly requested.
The County of Hawai‘i requests that similar to the Supplementary Proclamation issued by Governor Neil Abercrombie on August 14, 2014, the Governor use his authority under Sectionsl2(b)(8), 13(a)(2) and 13(a)(3) in Section 2 of Act 111, Session Laws of Hawai‘i 2014 in order to provide for emergency disaster relief to provide access to and prevent isolation of the affected areas in the District of Puna due to the June 27″‘ lava flow by suspending the following statutes to the extent permitted by federal law:
Hawai‘i Revised Statutes Chapters:
6E Historic Preservation (except for those provisions relating to burial sites)
101 Eminent Domain
171 Public Lands, Management and Disposition of
174C State Water Code
180 Soil and Water Conservation Districts
18oC Soil Erosion and Sediment Control
183 Forest Reserves, Water Development, Zoning
184 State Parks and Recreation Areas
195 Natural Areas Reserves System
195D Conservation of Aquatic Life, Wildlife, and Land Plants
198D Hawaii Statewide Trail and Access System
200 Ocean Recreation and Coastal Areas Programs
205 Land Use Commission
205A Coastal Zone Management
269 Public Utilities Commission
286 Highway Safety
341 Environmental Quality Control
342B Air Pollution Control
342D Water Pollution
342E Nonpoint Source Pollution Management and Control
342F Noise Pollution
342H Solid Waste Pollution
343 Environmental Impact Statements
344 State Environmental Policy
Thank you for your assistance in this matter. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.Mayor Kenoi’s Letter to Governor Abercrombie
Here is the proclamation:
WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature, provides for the establishment of County organizations for emergency management and disaster relief with the Mayor having direct responsibility and authority over emergency management within the County; and
WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature and Chapter 7, Articles 1 and 2 of the Hawai‘i County Code, establishes a Civil Defense Agency within the County of Hawai‘i and prescribes its powers, duties, and responsibilities, and Section 13-23 of the Hawai‘i County Charter empowers the Mayor of the County to declare emergencies; and
WHEREAS, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) on September 4, 2014 has raised its Volcano Alert Level from Watch to Warning and has reported that the June 27th flow from Kilauea’s East Rift Zone is within 1.3 kilometers or .8 miles of the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele O Puna Forest Reserve in the District of Puna, County and State of Hawai‘i, and if unimpeded will cross Highway 130 at an unknown time; and
WHEREAS, in advance of the actual lava flow may be threats of wildfire and methane explosions; and
WHEREAS, Highway 130 is the only major thoroughfare servicing lower Puna; and
WHEREAS, other access into and out of Lower Puna are unimproved and often 4-wheel drive only roads incapable of supporting standard travel; and
WHEREAS, due to the prior eruption events of 1983 to 2013, Highway 130 remains inundated by lava and impassible between the Highway 137, a.k.a. the Kapoho-Kalapana Road Beach Road (“Red Road”)/Highway 130 junction and Chain of Craters road in the Volcanoes National Park; and
WHEREAS, with the June 27″‘ flow to the north and the 1983-2013 eruption to the south, residential communities, schools, government facilities, business and industry in the affected area are under threat of disaster due to lava inundation and/or being land locked and isolated from the rest of the County; and
WHEREAS, it is believed that 2010 Census of approximately 8,211 people residing in the area directly under threat from this flow in the subdivisions of Hawaiian Beaches southward to Kalapana is unrepresentative of the present population since it has been reported that the District of Puna is the fastest growing population in the State; and
WHEREAS, due to the threat of disaster due to property damage and/or bodily injury to residents of Hawai‘i Island, and the need for government agencies and representatives from the private sector to mobilize and provide immediate services to our island residents, a state of emergency is authorized pursuant to Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature, and Chapter 7 of the Hawai‘i County Code; and
WHEREAS, Sections 12 and 13, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature authorizes additional powers of the Mayor during a state of emergency including but not limited to the authority to direct and control the conduct of civilians and movement and cessation of movement of pedestrians and vehicular traffic and to direct and control the mandatory evacuation of the civilian population as needed.
NOW, THEREFORE, 1, WILLIAM P. KENOI, Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i, do hereby proclaim and declare that a state of emergency exists due to threat of disaster on Hawai‘i Island, District of Puna, effective September 4, 2014, and continuing thereon for 60 days or until further act by this office.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the County of Hawai‘i to be affixed. Done this 4th day of September 2014 in Hilo, Hawai‘i.Mayor Kenoi’s Proclamation, Sept. 4, 2014