A line of traffic is seen going towards Pahoa town, Sunday, May 6, 2018, near Pahoa, Hawaii. Scientists reported lava spewing more than 200 feet (61 meters) into the air in Hawaii’s recent Kilauea volcanic eruption, and some of the more than 1,700 people who evacuated prepared for the possibility they may not return for quite some time. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Hawaii volcano destroys dozens of homes, forces evacuations

Scientists reported lava spewing more than 200 feet into the air in Hawaii’s recent Kilauea volcanic eruption

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano destroyed 26 homes and spewed lava hundreds of feet into the air, leaving evacuated residents unsure how long they might be displaced.

In revised figures Sunday, Hawaii County officials said another four unspecified structures were covered by lava.

Hawaii officials said the decimated homes were in the Leilani Estates subdivision, where molten rock, toxic gas and steam have been bursting through openings in the ground created by the volcano.

Some of the more than 1,700 residents who have been evacuated were allowed to briefly return to gather medicine, pets, and other necessities.

Related: Hawaii lava evacuees wake to uncertain future

Officials say residents would be able to do so each day until further notice as authorities monitor which areas are safe.

Amber Makuakane Kane, 37, a teacher and single mother of two, said her three-bedroom house in Leilani Estates was destroyed by lava.

The dwelling was across from a fissure that opened Friday, when “there was some steam rising from all parts of the yard, but everything looked fine,” Makuakane said.

On Saturday, she received alerts from her security system that motion sensors throughout the house had been triggered. She later confirmed that lava had covered her property.

Makuakane grew up in the area and lived in her house for nine years. Her parents also live in Leilani Estates.

“The volcano and the lava — it’s always been a part of my life,” she said. “It’s devastating … but I’ve come to terms with it.”

Lava has spread around 387,500 square feet (36,000 square meters) surrounding the most active fissure, though the rate of movement is slow. There was no indication when the lave might stop or how far it might spread.

Related: Hawaii volcano shoots lava into sky; evacuations ordered

“There’s more magma in the system to be erupted. As long as that supply is there, the eruption will continue,” U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist Wendy Stovall said.

Cherie McArthur wondered what would become of her macadamia nut farm in Lanipuna Gardens, another evacuated neighbourhood near Leilani Estates. One of the year’s first harvests had been planned for this weekend.

“If we lose our farm, we don’t know where we’re going to go. You lose your income and you lose your home at the same time,” said McArthur, who’s had the farm for about 20 years. “All you can do is pray and hope and try to get all the information you can.”

About 250 people and 90 pets spent Saturday night at shelters, the American Red Cross said.

The number of lava-venting fissures in the neighbourhood grew overnight from eight to as many as 10, Stovall said, though some have quieted at various points. Regardless, USGS scientists expect fissures to keep spewing.

The lava could eventually be channeled to one powerful vent while others go dormant, as has happened in some previous Hawaii eruptions, Stovall said.

Kilauea (pronounced kill-ah-WAY’-ah), one of the world’s most active volcanoes, has been erupting continuously since 1983.

The USGS’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory issued a notice in mid-April that there were signs of pressure building in underground magma, and a new vent could form on the cone or along what’s known as the East Rift Zone. Leilani Estates sits along the zone.

The crater floor began to collapse Monday, triggering earthquakes and pushing lava into new underground chambers that carried it toward Leilani Estates and nearby communities. A magnitude-6.9 earthquake — Hawaii’s largest in more than 40 years — hit the area Friday.

It set Michael McGuire’s car rocking in his driveway, knocking things off his shelves and shattering glass in his cabinets near Leilani Estates.

He hoped to check on his home Sunday but realized it was too soon to be sure when, or if, it would be safe from the moving lava.

“I’m somewhat fatalistic: if it happens, it happens,” he said. “And I’m enjoying life here, so you know, you put up with a lot of things here. This is one of them.”

Noah and Laura Dawn own a retreat centre about 3 miles downhill from the most active vents They were clearing out items Sunday and relocating up the coast indefinitely.

“We’re just removing all things of value to us and precious things because I have the feeling it could get real – real, real fast,” Noah Dawn said.

___

Peltz reported from New York and Yan from Honolulu. Associated Press photographer Marco Garcia and videographer Haven Daley contributed to this report from Pahoa.

Caleb Jones, Jennifer Peltz And Sophia Yan, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna mayoral candidate’s sign set aflame

Bobby Kennedy’s sign was set on fire on Saturday morning

PHOTOS: Vernon Minor Football full of family fun

Three games against Kelowna Junior Sun Sunday, Sept. 23

TEDxKelowna looks to inspire Kelowna

The event will showcase ideas that transcend sectors and generations

Long awaited second power line in West Kelowna postponed

The power line was set to be completed in 2020 and will now be installed in 2025

Cops for Kids cyclists return home

After cycling 1,000 kilometres they have completed their 10 day journey

Meet the Chef: Kai Koroll, executive chef at Block One restaurant

Koroll honours the terroir of the Okanagan in every dish he serves

Whitecaps see playoff dreams fade after 2-1 loss to FC Dallas

Goal in 87th minute seals Vancouver’s fate

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Trans Canada now open west of Chase, ‘heavy delays’

Few details available about crash that closed Trans Canada Highway west of Chase Sunday, Sept. 23

Oliver to get new sheriff from graduating class

Oliver will be one of a number of B.C. communities to get a member of the recent graduating class

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

B.C. man fined $15,000, barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Most Read