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Hawaii's Kīlauea Volcano: Lava flow claims more homes, evaporates entire lake

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 05, 2018, 9:35:17 AM EDT

A fast-moving lava flow from Hawaii’s Kīlauea Volcano totally evaporated a lake and devastated more communities across the eastern Big Island this weekend.

Lava spewing from one of the fissures created by the volcano has been racing toward the ocean this weekend.

As of Monday afternoon, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that the lava had reached Kapoho Bay and was nearly filling the bay. This lava flow is about a half-mile wide on its front-end.

As it advanced down from Fissure 8, the lava entered Green Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the Hawaiian Islands, in the area of Kapoho, on Saturday. The Hawaii County Fire Department reported that the lava filled the lake and apparently evaporated all of the water.

Land and homes between Green Lake and Kapoho Bay have been destroyed.

lava June 3

“The lava flow destroyed Four Corners [the intersection of Routes 132 and 137], so that means anyone who did not evacuate in the area from Vacationland and Kapoho to Pohoiki is cut off now,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Jim Andrews said.

“Only by air or water can anyone escape the area,” he said.

CNN reports that nearly a dozen people are stranded. Three people that were trapped by lava in an isolated area of Kapoho/Vacationland were airlifted without injury on Sunday morning, according to Hawaii News Now. A total of 117 homes have been destroyed since the volcano sprung back to life.

The ongoing eruption also triggered a moderate earthquake near Halemaumau on Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, the earthquake was not significant enough to pose a tsunami threat to the Hawaiian Islands, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

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As this lava flow enters the ocean, laze will form and create another hazard for the residents and officials still in the area. Vog is already causing health concerns.

Vog is low-level smog or haze that forms when moisture is present and contains smoke, dust and gases from a volcanic eruption.

“Volcanic gas emissions remain very high from the fissure eruptions,” according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).

Volcano overview June 3

"Laze is formed when hot lava hits the ocean, sending hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air," according to Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency. "Health hazards of laze include lung, eye and skin irritation."

Northeasterly trade winds will continue to keep vog and laze confined to southern and western areas of the Big Island this week.

Volcanic ash eruptions have subsided over the past week at Kīlauea. However, HVO warns “small explosive events could produce minor amounts of ash fall downwind at any time.”

Vog June 3

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