Drone Plane Photos of Lava Flow

Today I met Paul Mount as I was heading to the Pahoa Transfer Station on Cemetery Road and I noticed that he was calibrating his drone plane/copter so I pulled over and talked to him for a few minutes.

Paul Mount calibrating his drone.

Paul Mount calibrating his drone.

He sent his drone up and captured some HD film footage of what he saw.  Here are a couple pictures from today’s flight:

Paul Mount 1

Photo by Paul Mount

“…looking in a direction of 180 degrees from the first photo”

Photo by Paul Mount

Photo by Paul Mount

Paul sent me an email telling me he would be trying to get better footage tomorrow.  He was kind of hampered by the weather today.

Big Island Residents Asked to Move to Higher Grounds Before Hurricane Ana Hits

This is a Tropical Storm information update for Wednesday, October 15th at 10:00am.

The National Weather Service is currently tracking Tropical Storm Ana and will be providing further updates as conditions change. As of 5:00 am this morning, Tropical Storm Ana was located approximately 680 miles east southeast of Hilo and moving west at 9 miles per hour. Presently the system is showing sustained winds of 70 miles per hour with higher gusts. In addition to the high winds, high surf and storm surge may be expected as well as heavy rains and thunder showers.

Ana 1015

Although the threat level has not yet been raised we are asking Hawaii Island residents to monitor your local radio broadcasts for updates and to prepare for possible storm conditions which could begin to affect the Big Island by Friday. Residents in the shoreline communities of Punaluu in Kau and the Kalapana, Kapoho, and Pohoiki areas of Puna are advised to take precautions and to move to higher ground. Surf heights of 25 to 40 feet are currently forecasted for the southeast facing shores of Hawaii Island. 

Additional updates will be broadcasted as information becomes available.

Governor Issues Executive Order Turning Over State-Owned Portion of Chain of Craters Road to Hawaii County

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today issued an executive order that turns over 3.68 miles of the state-owned portion of Chain of Craters Road near Kalapana to Hawaii County.

Chain of Craters

The executive order states that the land is “hereby turned over to the County of Hawaii, in fee simple, for use as a county highway, and the County of Hawaii shall hereafter be responsible for its repair and maintenance as a county highway.”

On Sept. 15, Gov. Abercrombie signed a supplemental emergency proclamation to include the repair, restorations, rebuilding, or reestablishment of Chain of Craters Road, for use as an alternate emergency route should the June 27th lava flow cross Highway 130 near Pahoa and isolate communities in lower Puna from the rest of Hawaii County. That proclamation, a supplement to the original emergency proclamation signed on Sept. 5, also extended the disaster emergency relief period through Dec. 1, 2014.

The original proclamation suspended certain laws as needed for emergency purposes, including state restrictions on reestablishing abandoned roads that may be used should lava cross Highway 130. It also activated the Major Disaster Fund set aside by the state Legislature for disaster relief and facilitates access to emergency resources at the state and federal levels.

 

Contingency Plans Announced for Pahoa Schools in Case of Highway 130 Closure

The Hawai‘i State Department of Education (DOE) continues to work on contingency plans for public schools, students and staff in preparation for lava to eventually cross Pahoa’s Highway 130. The lava flow stalled Sunday on its approach toward Pahoa town. However, volcanic activity is ongoing.

Pahoa High and Intermediate
“We are doing our best to keep a sense of normalcy in our schools and we stand ready to adjust our operations as needed,” stated Mary Correa, complex area superintendent for Ka‘u, Kea‘au, Pahoa.

Given the information from the subject-area experts, the DOE is committed to doing what is necessary to allow public school teachers and students to continue teaching and learning. This includes preparing for the potential loss of an elementary school. The DOE is building an alternate site for elementary students in the Kea‘au High lower parking lot that could hold a number of classrooms. The site would accommodate at least 17 classrooms and up to 500 students and staff. The initial estimated cost to the DOE is $9 million.

“We believe that setting up an alternate site is necessary in order to ensure that our teachers and students have everything ready should we lose a school,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We continue to tackle a number of scenarios and we appreciate the flexibility of our staff, the cooperation of our families, and the collaboration with Hawai‘i County agencies in our preparation efforts.”

Based on the expectation that access to Keonepoko Elementary, Pahoa High & Intermediate, and Pahoa Elementary will be compromised, plans are being made for students who reside north of the flow to be rerouted to the Kea‘au complex when the flow crosses Highway 130. Students who reside south of the flow will remain in their homeschools if those facilities are not negatively impacted.

“When the lava crosses the highway, we want to make sure everything is in place in order to provide continued school services,” said Correa.

Pahoa complex currently has an estimated 1,800 students and roughly 300 employees.

Plans have been shared with parents at all three schools via letters and school meetings. Besides student planning, the DOE is also initiating plans that would guide affected employees on necessary changes. Earlier this month the DOE asked parents and staff who may have changed their residence to immediately update their contact information with school administrators.

Lava Flow 2.7 Miles From Pahoa Village Road… UPSLOPE!

This map shows the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone in relation to lower Puna.

Click to see large scale map

Click to see large scale map

The area of the flow on September 12, 2014, at 12:30 PM is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on September 15 at 2:00 PM is shown in red. The front of the active flow was 15.5 km (9.6 miles; straight-line distance) from the vent and had crossed the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve boundary into the vacant northwest corner of Kaohe Homesteads.

The flow front was advancing toward the northeast and was 4.3 km (2.7 miles) upslope from Pāhoa Village Road. The actual length of the flow, measured along the lava tube axis (so that bends in the flow are considered) is 17.7 km (11.0 miles).

The blue lines show down-slope paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM). For an explanation of down-slope path calculations, see: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/. Down-slope path analysis is based on the assumption that the digital elevation model (DEM) perfectly represents the earth’s surface. But, DEMs are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map indicate approximate flow path directions.

The purple arrow shows a short term projection of flow direction based on the flow behavior over the past several days and the local topography. All older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray; the yellow line marks the lava tube.

Lava Flow Enters Kaohe Homesteads

June 27th flow enters northwest portion of Kaohe Homesteads

The June 27th lava flow remains active and continues advancing towards the northeast. Recently, the flow front entered the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision, and is currently within the vacant, forested northwest portion of the subdivision. The flow front was 3.3 km (2.1 miles) upslope from Apaʻa Road and 4.3 km (2.7 miles) from Pāhoa Village Road.

Another view of the flow front, in the northwest portion of Kaohe Homesteads subdivision.
A closer view of surface activity on the June 27th lava flow. This pāhoehoe flow consists of many small, scattered, slow-moving lobes burning vegetation.

HVO geologists conduct a VLF (very-low frequency) survey to measure the rate of lava flowing through the lava tube on the June 27th lava flow.
An HVO geologist conducts a very-low frequency (VLF) survey of the lava tube to measure the rate of lava flowing through the tube. The measurement consists of two steps. First, a transect of VLF measurements across the roof of the tube is used to measure the cross-sectional area of lava flowing through the tube. Second, a radar gun is used to measure the speed that lava is flowing at that location. An open skylight is required for this speed measurement. By multiplying the cross-sectional area with the velocity, the volume rate of lava flowing through the tube can be estimated. Today’s measurement showed a flow rate of 5.8 cubic meters per second (roughly 1500 gallons per second). Tracking the lava supply rate like this can be helpful for anticipating fluctuations in activity at the flow front.

Click to view movie

This Quicktime movie provides an aerial view of activity near the front of the June 27th flow, where numerous pāhoehoe lobes are slowly burning vegetation.

Click to view movie

This Quicktime movie shows the view through a skylight on the lava tube, which provided a clear view of the flowing lava stream.

Lava Smoke and Steam Now Visible From All Over East Hawaii

Puna and in particular the city of Pahoa is battening down the hatches as this lava flow approaches our district.

Here is a picture from my front yard this morning around 6:15 this morning:

The orange color is the reflection of the lava off the smoke that is being created from the flow.

The orange color is the reflection of the lava off the smoke that is being created from the flow.

To put things in perspective… here is a picture that Pahoa Resident Alan Lakritz took from the Honoli’i area of Hilo looking across the bay at the smoke and steam:

Lakritz stated on Facebook,  "The "Plume of Smoke and Steam" over Pahoa and Lower Puna as viewed from Honoli'i Pali ,which is on the north side of Hilo town headed up the Hamakua Coast"

Lakritz stated on Facebook, “The “Plume of Smoke and Steam” over Pahoa and Lower Puna as viewed from Honoli’i Pali ,which is on the north side of Hilo town headed up the Hamakua Coast”

 

FEMA Statement on Federal Aid for State of Hawaii After Tropical Storm Iselle

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Hawaii to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by Tropical Storm Iselle during the period of August 7-9, 2014.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Tropical Storm Iselle in Hawaii and Maui counties.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Kenneth K. Suiso has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.  Suiso said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

New USGS Maps Released – Where the Lava Flow is Now

This small-scale map shows the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone on September 12, 2014.

The area of the flow on September 10, 2014, at 2:45 PM is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on September 12 at 12:30 PM is shown in red. The front of the active flow was 14.9 km (9.3 miles; straight-line distance) from the vent and 0.17 km (0.1 miles) from the east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve. The actual length of the flow, measured along the lava tube axis (so that bends in the flow are considered) is 17.1 km (10.6 miles). The flow was advancing toward the northeast. The blue lines show down-slope paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM). For an explanation of down-slope path calculations, see: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/. All older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray. Down-slope path analysis is based on the assumption that the digital elevation model (DEM) perfectly represents the earth’s surface. But, DEMs are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map indicate approximate flow path directions. The purple arrow shows a short term projection of flow direction based on the flow behavior over the past several days and the local topography. (see large map)

Large-scale map of Kīlauea’s ERZ flow field

This large-scale map shows the distal part of the June 27th flow in relation to nearby Puna communities. The black dots mark the flow front on specific dates. The latitude and longitude of the flow front on September 12 was 19.46388/-154.98343 (Decimal degrees; WGS84). The blue lines show down-slope paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Down-slope path analysis is based on the assumption that the digital elevation model (DEM) perfectly represents the earth’s surface. But, DEMs are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map indicate approximate flow path directions. The purple arrow shows a short term projection of flow direction based on the flow behavior over the past several days and the local topography. (see large map)

Shaded-relief map of East Rift Zone near flow front

This shaded-relief map, with digital surface data provided by the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, shows some of the cracks, faults, and grabens (down-dropped blocks between adjacent faults; http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/glossary/?term=graben) that are present in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone, and which have partly controlled the June 27th flow’s advance direction. The June 27th flow as of September 10, 2014, at 2:45 PM is shown in pink, while flow advance since then (as of ~12:30 PM on September 12) is shown in red. At the time of the mapping, the flow was advancing toward the northeast. (see large map)

Lava Flow Estimated to Cross Highway 130 in Two Weeks

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Department of Land and Natural Resources announce the immediate closure of Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve, until further notice, due to the hazards associated with the June 27 lava flow. Wao Kele o Puna is owned by OHA and managed by DLNR.

I would hardly call it a crime scene!

I would hardly call it a crime scene!

Kamana‘opono Crabbe, Ka Pouhana, OHA (Chief Executive Officer) said, “It is prudent at this time to close Wao Kele o Puna due to lava activity and subsequent unsafe conditions.

William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson said, “We join with Hawaii Civil Defense and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to warn the public of extreme danger from lava flowing through cracks in Wao Kele O Puna, and Kahauale’a Natural Area Reserve. Both areas are off-limits to all persons. We will prosecute anyone entering these areas for any purpose, including unauthorized lava sightseeing tours. Hikers have been lost or injured in these areas, and personnel called in to rescue them have also been put in danger.”

The Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will be assisting Hawaii County to build the alternate roads in Puna.

Lava is estimated to cross Highway 130 in approximately two weeks if it stays on its current path.

DOFAW will provide a D8 bulldozer and equipment operator to Nanawale/Railroad Ave. tomorrow and expect work will take several weeks. Portions of the old railroad right-of-way run through state forest and unencumbered lands. Railroad Ave. bisects Nanawale state Forest Reserve

Another Lava Flow Update This Evening From USGS – Video of Flow

Between September 6 and 10, the June 27th flow advanced north then northeastward at an average rate of 400 m/d (0.25 mi/d).

Click to view movie

This Quicktime movie provides an overview of activity near the front of the June 27th lava flow, and shows the position of the flow front relative to Kaohe Homesteads and Pahoa.

In this way, the flow had advanced approximately 14.5 km (9.0 miles straight-line distance) from the vent, or to within 0.6 km (0.4 miles) of the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve, by the afternoon of September 10. At the average rate of advancement of 400 m/day (0.25 mi/day) since September 6, we project that lava could flow from its current location to the northwest edge of Kaohe Homesteads in 1.5 days and to the Pāhoa Village road (government road) in Pāhoa within 14-16 days if lava is not further confined within the cracks and down-dropped blocks within the East Rift Zone of Kīlauea volcano. These estimates will be continually refined as we track this lava flow.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

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.

Recent Observations: Lava flow turned to the northeast and is advancing at a rate of 400 m/day (0.25 mi/day).

Hazard Analysis: Lava Flow from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent could reach the northwest edge of Kaohe Homesteads in 1.5 days and the government road in Pāhoa within 14-16 days.

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. 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 three more times over the following days with lava entering and filling other cracks before reappearing at the surface, in two of the cases farther downslope. Lava emerged from the last crack on September 6 and moved as a surface flow to the northeast.

Lava Flow Moves Closer to Pahoa and Highway 130

The June 27th lava flow remained active Wednesday afternoon, September 10, 2014, with the most distal flow front 14.5 km (9.0 mi; straight-line distance) from the vent on the northeast flank of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone, which is visible in the far background.

Click to enlarge

Over the past day, the flow front direction shifted from a north trend to a more northeast trend, bringing the flow closer to the Forest Reserve boundary. The flow continued to advance through thick forest, creating smoke plumes as it engulfed trees and other vegetation. The smell of smoke has been detected far downwind of the flow, but fires are not spreading beyond the margin of the flow. Small, sluggish breakouts of lava (smoke plumes in far distance) also remain active closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, roughly midway along the length of the June 27th flow.

View from above the end of the June 27th lava flow, looking along its northeast trend through the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve.

On the afternoon of September 10, 2014, the flow front was 0.6 km (0.4 mi) from the boundary between the Forest Reserve and Kaohe Homesteads, visible at far right. Click to enlarge

Smoke plumes indicate the location of the June 27th lava flow, which was 0.6 km (0.4 mi) from the edge of Kaohe Homesteads, visible in foreground, on September 10. The flow was advancing toward the northeast.

Lava Flow Maps Updated – Flow Widens and Advances

This small-scale map shows the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone on September 10, 2014.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The area of the flow on September 8, 2014, at 12:45 PM is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on September 10 at 2:45 PM is shown in red. The front of the active flow was 14.5 km (9.0 miles; straight-line distance) from the vent and 0.6 km (0.4 miles) from the east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve. The actual length of the flow, measured along the lava tube axis (so that bends in the flow are considered) is 16.6 km (10.3 miles). The flow was advancing toward the northeast. The blue lines show down-slope paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM). For an explanation of down-slope path calculations, see: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/. All older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray; the yellow line marks the lava tube.

This large-scale map shows the distal part of the June 27th flow in relation to nearby Puna communities.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The black dots mark the flow front on specific dates. The latitude and longitude of the flow front on September 8 was 19.460895/-154.986613 (Decimal degrees; WGS84). The blue lines show down-slope paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/).

Aerial Images of Puna Lava Flow Emerge

Here is an aerial image of the Puna Lava Flow on September 5th:

Click to enlarge

All images courtesy of Resource Mapping Hawaii. Click to enlarge

Here’s an aerial view showing Puna Lava Flow moving northwards from Sept 5 to 7 provide by Resource Mapping Hawaii:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This image was taken on Septemer 7, 2014:

Aerial image flow 2

Today is the 10th.  When I get access to the updated images I’ll post that.

Albizia Tree Presentation at UH Hilo

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Faculty Congress and the College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) invite the public to a free presentation on the invasive Albizia trees. The presentation will be held on Wednesday, September 17, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the University Classroom Building (UCB) Room 100.

Workers clear Albizia trees from a road following Hurricane Iselle.

Workers clear Albizia trees from a road following Hurricane Iselle.

“The fast-growing Albizia trees have had a serious ecological impact on native forests,” said Springer Kaye, Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) Manager. “They also pose a real and immediate threat to the public’s safety and welfare as we saw in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Iselle.”

Kaye and Dr. Flint Hughes, research ecologist, of the USDA Forest Service Institute for Pacific Islands Forestry, will discuss community-based efforts involving State and local agencies, lawmakers, Hawai’i Electric Light Company, and other stakeholders to remove hazardous trees, and deploy field staff and volunteers to manage non-hazardous trees. Other topics of discussion include lessons learned and future steps to achieve long-term hazard mitigation.

Parking on the UH Hilo campus is free after 4 p.m. A map of the campus can be found online at http://hilo.hawaii.edu/uhh/maps.php.

For more information, call 974-7664 or email ccecs@hawaii.edu. For disability accommodations, call (808) 974-7664 (V) or (808) 932-7002 (TTY).

Civil Defense Update on Eruption and Lava Flow

This is a civil defense message.

Civildefense

This is an Eruption and Lava Flow Information Update for Wednesday September 10th at 8:15 AM.

This morning’s assessment shows the surface lava flow continues and is moving in a north/northeast direction.  There is no wildfire threat at this time.  Weather and fire conditions are being monitored closely.  Due to a light inversion this morning smoke conditions in the area were moderate.

Photo of the flow from the top of my Mattson container at 8:45 this morning.

Photo of the flow from the top of my Mattson container at 8:45 this morning.

The surface flow has advanced approximately 250 yards since yesterday.  The surface flow is moving slowly and does not pose an immediate threat to area residents.  The surface flow is located approximately .6 miles southwest or upslope of the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary and moving in a north/northeast direction and parallel to the forest reserve boundary.

Presently, the current activities and flow does not present with an immediate or imminent threat to area communities.  No evacuation is required at this time.  Eruption activity will continue to be monitored and additional updates will be provided.

Although the current flow activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities, residents are encouraged to continue to review their emergency plans in the event conditions change and should an evacuation be necessary.

The public is reminded that the flow cannot be accessed and is not visible from any public areas.  Access to the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision will be restricted and limited to subdivision residents only.

Wordless Wednesday – As The Lava Approaches My House

Lava Flow 910

New Lava Flow Map Released

The following map was released tonight at the Hawaii County Civil Defense meeting at Pahoa High School.

I will post the actual link and what is said about this map when USGS updates their links:

Cell phone picture of map from tonight's Civil Defense Meeting.

Cell phone picture of map from tonight’s Civil Defense Meeting.

Lava Flow Update – Flow Advances About 300 Yards in About 6 Hours

The June 27th lava flow remains active. An HVO flight early in the afternoon yesterday found that the flow had advanced ~280 m (~300 yards) north since a Civil Defense flight just after sunrise that morning (a span of ~6 hours), and the flow front had reached a large crack marked on the topographic base map (but not visible from the air). There was no evidence that the flow was entering this crack, if it exists.

A steam plume as seen from my house near Pahoa High School.

A steam plume as seen from my house near Pahoa High School.

A Civil Defense overflight this morning found that the flow front had advanced an additional 370 meters (400 yards) since yesterday afternoon. This puts the tip of the flow at 14.0 km (8.7 miles) from the vent, measured in a straight line, and 1.1 km (0.7 miles) from the Forest Reserve boundary.

The actual length of the flow, measured along the lava tube axis (so that bends in the flow are considered) is 16.0 km (9.9 miles). The flow front is still in thick forest, creating smoke plumes as it engulfs trees and other vegetation, but fires are not spreading away from the flow.

Small breakouts also remain active closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, roughly midway along the length of the June 27th flow. None of these breakouts have been very vigorous recently, but are also producing smoke plumes a they creep into the adjacent forest.

TONIGHT – Hawaii County Civil Defense Meeting on Eruption and Lava Flow

Civildefense
Hawai’i County Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory will hold additional community meetings TONIGHT and Thursday, Sept. 11 to update residents on the lava flow in the Wao Kele O Puna area.

The briefings will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Pahoa High School Cafeteria.