'It's saddening': Massive river of lava wipes out hundreds of homes

Aaron Brown
June 7, 2018

"We don't have an estimate yet, but safe to say that hundreds of homes were lost in Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland last night", Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County, said on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT).

County Managing Director Wil Okabe said his own vacation home in Kapoho Beach Lots was threatened.

A steam plume first appeared around 10 a.m. Saturday as lava poured into Green Lake in Kapoho, but by 3 p.m. a Hawaii County Fire Department overflight confirmed to the US Geological Survey that the lake had filled with lava and the body of water was no more.

And it not only took homes, it completely filled Kapoho Bay, extending 0.8 miles from the coastline. Lava has inundated most of Vacationland and has covered all but the northern part of Kapoho Beach Lots.

This image from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows shows the lava flow originating from Fissure 8 (not visible in photograph) entering Kapoho Bay on Monday. (Reuters/Terray Sylvester) Lava threatens homes on the outskirts of Pahoa.

On Sunday, the flow crept toward Kapoho Bay, a roughly 1,000-foot-wide ocean retreat.

There were about 500 homes in the Kapoho area.

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More eruptions are possible in the coming months as the deflation process continues, Cindi Preller, geologist and duty scientist at the Oahu office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told ABC News.

Barbara McDaniel, a retiree who moved with her husband to Vacationland from Washington state five years ago, said they fled as soon as evacuations began, taking little else but their dog and cat with them.

"Harry had a premonition this was going to happen", Snyder said.

"The most recent aerial surveillance appears to show that Mayor Kim's house in lower Puna was destroyed sometime today by the lava flow", said David Mace, spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management.

"He was very depressed", Okabe said of how Kim felt about losing his vacation home. The flow prompted warnings from Hawaii County Civil Defense authorities about laze, a nasty mashup of lava and haze that sends hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air.

"Anything above 6.9 [magnitude] is our threshold", she said, noting that it would warn people to stay clear of the ocean in such an event.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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