Maui Felon Arrested for Refusing to Provide DNA Sample – State Looking for Others

Attorney General David M. Louie announced that on August 22, 2014, John P. Dunbar Jr. (60) of Haiku, Maui, was arrested by patrol officers and officers assigned to the Maui Police Department’s Crime Reduction Unit for refusing to provide a DNA sample. Mr. Dunbar, had been convicted of Escape in the Second Degree, which is a felony, in June 2005 and was provided notice of the legal requirement that he provide a DNA sample.

Pursuant to section 844D-31, Hawaii Revised Statutes, any person convicted of a felony is required to provide a buccal swab sample containing DNA. This law applies to all convicted felons, even if their conviction occurred before the passage of the law in 2005. Refusal to submit a DNA sample is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment or a maximum fine of $2,000.

This case is the result of the Attorney General’s on-going law enforcement effort to obtain DNA samples from thousands of unsupervised convicted felons in the State of Hawaii and was a joint effort between the Attorney General Investigations Division’s DNA Swabbing Unit, the United States Marshals Service, the Maui Police Department, and the Maui Prosecutor’s Office.

“I thank the various law enforcement agencies that have assisted our office in ensuring that state law is followed and that convicted felons who refuse to provide DNA samples are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Attorney General Louie. “The DNA collection program has already assisted law enforcement in closing unsolved crimes. I encourage anyone that has been convicted of a felony that has not yet provided a DNA sample to voluntarily comply with the law and provide a sample to our DNA Swabbing Unit.” The DNA Swabbing Unit can be contacted at 808-586-1240.

An arrest does not constitute a conviction and Mr. Dunbar is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the criminal offense charged.

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Click to enlarge

 

Civil Defense Update – Lava Advances 200-300 Yards from Yesterday

Daily helicopter over flights and assessments of the eruption are being maintained.  This morning’s assessment showed that surface activity is continuing however is very slow and does to pose an immediate threat to neighboring areas.  The surface flow has advanced approximately 200-300 yards since yesterday morning.

Thermal image of Pu'u O'o now.

Thermal image of Pu’u O’o now.

Although the burning of vegetation is limited, due to the light winds and a noted inversion this morning, smoke conditions in some areas have been moderate to heavy.  Those conditions are expected to improve as the winds pickup and the inversion is lifted. There is not brush fire or wildland fire threat at this time.

Presently, the current activities and flow does not present with an immediate or imminent threat to area communities.

The location of the surface flow is approximately 1.3 miles southwest or upslope of the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary.  Eruption activity will be monitored and additional updates will be provided.

Area residents are encouraged to continue to review their emergency plans in the event conditions change and should an evacuation be necessary.  As stated, the current flow activity does not present with an immediate or imminent threat.  This update is to keep area residents informed of current observations.

The public is advised that the flow cannot be accessed and is not visible from any public areas.  Please do not attempt to access the area as there are many cracks and dense vegetation.  In addition please refrain from attempting to do so through the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision and respect the privacy of area residents.  Enforcement officers of the State Department of Land and Natural Resources will be conducting patrols and reminding persons in the area of the restricted access.

Civil Defense Update – Lava Flow Extends From Crack Entry

Daily helicopter over flights and assessments of the eruption are continuing.  This morning’s assessment showed that there is currently some surface activity.  The current flow had entered a crack system earlier this week and there is some evidence to indicate subsurface lava activity.  The surface flow has extended approximately 200-300 yards from the crack entry.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Presently, the current activities and flow does not present with an immediate or imminent threat to area communities.

As the surface flow moves through the vegetation, smoke conditions may increase and fluctuate with changes in wind conditions.  There is no brush fire or wildland fire threat at this time and all burning is limited to the perimeter of the flow.

The location of the surface flow is approximately 1.4 miles southwest or upslope of the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary.  Eruption activity will be monitored and additional updates will be provided.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Area residents are encouraged to continue to review their emergency plans in the event conditions change and should an evacuation be necessary.  As stated, the current flow activity does not present with an immediate or imminent threat.  This update is to keep area residents informed of current observations.

The public is advised that the flow cannot be accessed and is not visible from any public areas.  Please do not attempt to access the area as there are many cracks and dense vegetation.  In addition please refrain from attempting to do so through the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision and respect the privacy of area residents.  Enforcement officers of the State Department of Land and Natural Resources will be conducting patrols and reminding persons in the area of the restricted access.

Lava Flow Reactivates – Spills Out of Steaming Crack

Far end of June 27th lava flow reactivates, lava spills out of steaming crack

The steaming ground crack observed yesterday suggested that lava was close to the surface within the crack, and today lava in the crack reached the surface and began spilling out into the thick forest. The leading edge of the lava today was near the abandoned well site (cleared area at left). This farthest lava was about 11.9 km (7.4 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō (visible on horizon) and 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve.

A closer view of the pad of lava that emerged from the ground crack earlier this week, which had renewed surface flows today. At the east end (upper left in photograph) of the lava pad new breakouts spilled into adjacent ground cracks, and lava was visible within the ground crack extending farther to the east (visible by line of smoke extending towards upper left portion of photo). Heiheiahulu is visible in the upper right.

A wide view of the leading edge of the June 27th lava flow, looking east down Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone. The main body of the June 27th flow ends near the center of the photograph, where lava poured into a deep ground crack. After traveling along the ground crack, lava emerged at the surface earlier this week, creating an isolated pad of lava (where the thick smoke is just above the center of the photograph). This pad of lava had renewed surface activity today, with lava filling and spilling out of a ground crack extending farther to the east of the lava pad.
 Another wide view of the leading edge of the June 27th lava flow, again looking east. This shows the east end of the isolated lava pad. The thick smoke originates from lava filling a deep ground crack up to the surface. The smoke partly obscures the abandoned well site.

At the site of the isolated pad of lava near the leading edge of the June 27th flow, renewed surface flows today resurfaced the existing lava flow and also spilled into nearby ground cracks. In this photograph, two large streams of lava plunge into a crack that is a couple meters (yards) wide.

At the far end of the lava-filled crack, lava spilled out towards the north a very short distance. In this view from a thermal camera, the small lobe of lava moving north is easily visible. The trees surrounding the crack show brighter colors as they are heated by the lava flow, but not to the point of combustion.

The vent for the June 27th lava flow is on the upper northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The vent area is now covered by lava, but the lava tube that carries lava to the flow front is easily visible by the line of blue-colored fume. In the lower right, two skylights can be seen.

More Community Meetings Announced to Update Folks on Lava Flows

Civildefense

Hawai’i County Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory will host additional community meetings on Tuesday, Sept. 2 and Thursday, Sept. 4 to update residents on the lava flow in the Wao Kele O Puna area.

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

Civil Defense Lava Flow Update

Daily helicopter over flights and assessments of the eruption are continuing.  This morning’s assessment showed that there is currently some surface activity.  The current flow had entered a crack system earlier this week and there is some evidence to indicate subsurface lava activity.  The surface flows remain on the existing flow area and has not extended beyond or further than the location where it had entered a crack. The evidence is limited to steam plumes along the area of the crack.

HVO121

Presently, the current activities and flow does not present with an immediate or imminent threat to area communities.

The location of the crack and areas of the steam is approximately 1.6 miles southwest or upslope of the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary.  Eruption activity will be monitored and additional updates will be provided.

Area residents are encouraged to continue to review their emergency plans in the event conditions change and should an evacuation be necessary.  As stated, the current flow activity does not present with an immediate or imminent threat.  This update is to keep area residents informed of current observations.

The public is advised that the flow cannot be accessed and is not visible from any public areas.  Please do not attempt to access the area as there are many cracks and dense vegetation.  In addition please refrain from attempting to do so through the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision and respect the privacy of area residents.  Enforcement officers of the State Department of Land and Natural Resources will be conducting patrols and reminding persons in the area of the restricted access.

Where the Lava is Now – Live Camera Views of Current Lava Flow

If you look at the top right of this picture (near the ocean) you can see that the lava and steam has increased above Kaohe Homestead.

Picture taken a few minutes ago.  Click to enlarge

Panorama of Puʻu ʻŌʻō North Flank from the North Rim, Picture taken a few minutes ago. Click to enlarge

The steam is just barely visible in the top right but it’s still not a good sign.  It means the Lava has not stopped flowing towards Pahoa.

To view other live cameras of this flow… you can click here: HVO Webcams

 

Lava Flow Update – Steam Suggests Flow Advancing Again Towards Pahoa

Steaming extends northeast along ground crack, suggesting lava is advancing again along the crack

Steaming (center of photograph) was reported this morning east of the small pad of lava (just above center) that emerged from a ground crack this past week. This renewed progression of steaming suggests that lava is again continuing to advance beneath the surface, along these ground cracks. On our afternoon overflight, the farthest point of steaming was near an abandoned well site, which serves as a convenient landmark in this broad expanse of forest. The farthest steaming was 11.9 km (7.4 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve. In the top portion of the photograph, numerous plumes of smoke originate from scattered surface flows burning vegetation. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen on the horizon.

This figure compares the photo above with an equivalent view from a thermal camera. The plumes of smoke mark the farthest active lava on the surface (small, scattered lobes of pāhoehoe), which are also shown as small hotspots in the thermal image. The pad of lava that emerged from the ground crack earlier this week was inactive at the surface but still quite warm (high temperature patch in center of image). East of this pad of lava, steaming (just below the center of the photograph) has appeared over the past day, suggesting that lava is continuing to advance below the surface along a ground crack. Direct views into the crack were not possible due to thick vegetation, but close views of the steaming areas with the thermal camera reveal temperatures up to 190 C (370 F). These high temperature are further evidence of lava moving through the crack.

A closer of the new steaming. The thick vegetation obscures direct views of the ground crack, and only a line of steaming and browned vegetation is evident at the surface.

Slow-moving pāhoehoe advances through thick forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The pāhoehoe lobes surround, and burn through, the base of the trees. By the time the trees topple over, the lava surface temperature has cooled sufficiently that the downed trees do not completely burn through, leaving a field of tree trunks on the recent lava surface. One tree in the center of the photograph is completely surrounded by active lava, and likely on the brink of toppling over.

Another view of the lava expanding into the forest.
Closer to the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, one of several skylights provides a view of the flowing lava stream within the lava tube. This lava tube supplies lava from the vent to the active surface flows near the flow front.

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Click to enlarge

New Lava Flow Map Released – Lava Flow Once Again Advancing

Map showing the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone as of August 28, 2014:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow as mapped on August 27 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of August 28 is shown in red. All older lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray. The thin yellow line marks a portion of the lava tube feeding the flow.

The only place where lava significantly widened the margin was at the most distant surface breakout, which was 8.6 km (5.3 miles) from the vent. The brown line at the far end of the flow marks the ground crack that channeled lava to the east, where it later emerged to form a new pad of lava.

Yesterday, there was no surface activity there and no indication that lava was continuing to advance within ground cracks. This morning, however, steam was rising above a crack extending east beyond the end of the lava pad, suggesting that lava was once again advancing within a crack below ground.

The most distant steaming area was 11.9 km (7.4 miles) from the vent and 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve.

Civil Defense Message – Eruption Information Update

This is an Eruption Information Update for Thursday August 28th at 12:30pm.

This morning’s helicopter over flight and assessment showed that there is presently no surface activity.  The current flow had entered a crack system earlier this week and there is some evidence to indicate subsurface lava activity. The evidence is limited to steam plumes along the area of the crack.

Presently, the current activities and flow does not present with an immediate or imminent threat to area communities.

Forest Legacy

The location of the crack and areas of the steam is approximately 1.7 miles southwest or upslope of the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary.  Eruption activity will be monitored and additional updates will be provided.

Area residents are encouraged to continue to review their emergency plans in the event conditions change and should an evacuation be necessary.  As stated, the current flow activity does not present with an immediate or imminent threat.  This update is to keep area residents informed of current observations.

The public is advised that the flow cannot be accessed and is not visible from any public areas.  Please do not attempt to access the area as there are many cracks and dense vegetation. In addition please refrain from attempting to do so through the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision and respect the privacy of area residents.

Thank you and have a safe day. This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense

FEMA Aid Denied to Hawaii and Iselle Victims

The State of Hawaii’s request for a major disaster declaration due to Tropical Storm Iselle was denied today by Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator W. Craig Fugate. The request sought Individual Assistance for individuals and households affected by the tropical storm in early August and Hazard Mitigation funds for use in statewide projects.

Various types of trees, including the invasive Allbizia were knocked down by the winds of hurricane Iselle as it landed on the eastern coast of Hawaii island on August 8, 2014.    Photo by Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Various types of trees, including the invasive Allbizia were knocked down by the winds of hurricane Iselle as it landed on the eastern coast of Hawaii island on August 8, 2014. Photo by Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Administrator Fugate’s denial letter states: “it has been determined that the damage from this event was not of such severity and magnitude to be beyond the capabilities of the state, affected local governments, and voluntary agencies.”

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), formerly known as State Civil Defense, continues to work with federal and county officials on an application for assistance to rebuild public infrastructure.

People still in need of assistance following Iselle should call Hawaii County at (808) 935-0031 or the volunteer request line at (808) 464-3175.

The American Red Cross and the Hawaii State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters continues to take donations to help those affected by Iselle. Donations can be made through the following channels:

American Red Cross (Hawaii Chapter), Phone: (808) 734-2101 http://www.redcross.org/hi/honolulu

Hawaii State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters

Hurricane Iselle Long-Term Relief and Recovery Fund

Iselle donations may be dropped off at any American Savings Bank.

https://hivoad.communityos.org/cms/contact_hi

 

Updated Map of Lava Lava Flow Approaching Pahoa

Map showing the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone as of August 27, 2014.

Click to enlarge map

Click to enlarge map

The area of the flow as mapped on August 25 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of August 27 is shown in red. The brown line marks the ground crack that channeled lava to the east, where it emerged to form a new pad of lava over the past couple of days.

The distal tip of this new lava pad is 11.5 km (7.1 miles) east-northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and 3.0 km (1.9 miles) from the edge of the Wao Kele O Puna Forest Reserve. However, the tip of the flow was inactive today and there was no indication that lava was continuing to advance within ground cracks.

The most distant active flows were 8.5 km (5.3 miles) from the vent. All older lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray. The thin yellow line marks a portion of the lava tube feeding the flow.

Lava Flow Update – Activity at Flow Front “Appears” to Stall But Surface Flows Remain Active

The June 27th flow remains active, but surface flows at the very farthest reaches of the flow appear to have stalled today.

lava flow 827

Click to Enlarge

The lava flow front consisted of an isolated pad of lava that emerged from a deep ground crack several days ago. Today, this pad of lava appeared inactive at the surface, with no sign obvious activity in the adjacent crack. On today’s overflight, the farthest active surface flows were on the main body of the June 27th flow, and were 8.5 km (5.3 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, or about 6 km (3.7 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve.

A closer view of the southern lobe of the June 27th lava flow. Smoke plumes originate from active surface breakouts, the farthest today reached 8.5 km (5.3 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The spot at which this lobe plunged into a deep ground crack last week can be seen near the bottom of the photograph. In the upper right portion of the photograph, smoke originating from active breakouts on the northern lobe can be seen.

A comparison of the normal photograph (see above) of the south lobe of the June 27th flow with an equivalent view from the thermal camera. The thermal camera clearly shows the extent of the farthest active breakout, which was relatively small.

Top: Another view of the south lobe of the June 27th flow, which plunged into a deep ground crack last week (this spot is visible at the right side of the photograph). This wide view, looking west, also shows another deep crack nearby, a short distance to the south of the active flows (which are producing the smoke plumes). This immediate area contains many ground cracks, which are part of Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen in the distance.

Bottom: The isolated pad of lava that emerged from the deep ground crack several days ago did not have any active breakouts at the surface today, but incandescent lava could be seen in numerous cracks on the surface. This likely represents lava that had ponded within the flow and remains hot, but immobile.

Free Live Webcast Available for Two Pillars of Peace Hawaii Events with The Elders

Pillars of Peace Hawai‘i, an initiative of theHawai‘i Community Foundation, announced today The Elders’ student discussion, “Leaders Make the Future: The Wisdom of Elders and Youngers” on August 30 (limited tickets available) and public forum “A Just and Inclusive Global Community” on August 31 (sold out) will be streamed online in real time, free of charge for those unable to attend.

Elders in Hawaii

These two events are part of a series of Pillars of Peace Hawai‘i events (August 29 -31) where members of The Elders, global peace leaders Gro Harlem Brundtland, Ms. Hina Jilani and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, will speak and exchange ideas with the people of Hawai‘i on practicing peace, compassion and ethical leadership.

To view the live webcasts of these two events, please visit http://www.pillarsofpeacehawaii.org/the-elders-in-hawaii-via-live-stream. Viewers can also submit questions for The Elders’ consideration through Twitter or Facebook using #PEACEHI during the events.

Student Talk, “Leaders Make the Future: The Wisdom of Elders and Youngers”

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
  • Live stream starts at 8:45 a.m. HAST
  • The Elders’ talk starts at 9:30 a.m. HAST

Members of The Elders will speak directly to high school, college and university students to help the youth on their path of ethical leadership, to encourage compassionate and responsible behavior, and to instill hope for the future of Hawai‘i and the world. Additionally, the event will feature performances by Aidan James, Nick Acosta and Kealoha.

Public Talk, “A Just and Inclusive Global Community”

  • Sunday, August 31, 2014
  • Live stream starts at 3:15 p.m. HAST
  • The Elders’ talk starts at 4:00 p.m. HAST

The Elders will speak to the general public about global citizenship and equality, and how these can help empower individuals, youth and civil society groups, leading to a better future for all. The event will include slam poetry by Kealoha and a musical performance by Henry Kapono.

About Hawai‘i Community Foundation

The Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF), with 98 years of community service, is the leading philanthropic institution in the state. The Foundation is a steward of over 650 funds, including more than 190 scholarship funds, created by donors who desire to transform lives and improve communities. In 2013, $43 million in grants and contracts were distributed by HCF statewide, including $4 million in scholarships. The HCF also serves as a resource on community issues and trends in the nonprofit sector. For more information on HCF, please visithttp://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/.

Hawaii Lava Flow Update – Lava Resurfaces Along Crack

Lava resurfaces along crack, continues advancing through thick forest

The leading edge of the June 27th lava flow plunged into a deep crack on Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone last week, and lava within the crack remained hidden for several days.

Over the past day, lava returned to the surface at a point slightly farther along the crack, creating a small island of lava surrounded by thick forest. Click to enlarge

Over the past day, lava returned to the surface at a point slightly farther along the crack, creating a small island of lava surrounded by thick forest. Click to enlarge

The farthest tip of the flow today was 11.4 km (7.1 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and 3.1 km (1.9 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve.

A view of the small pad of lava that has emerged from the crack over the past day. The lava pad was about 800 m (0.5 miles) long, and was about 1.3 km (0.8 miles) east of the point where lava plunged into the crack. Click to enlarge

A view of the small pad of lava that has emerged from the crack over the past day. The lava pad was about 800 m (0.5 miles) long, and was about 1.3 km (0.8 miles) east of the point where lava plunged into the crack. Click to enlarge

Another view of the isolated pad of lava that has emerged from the crack. This view is towards the east, along the East Rift Zone.

The spot at which lava flowed into the crack is to the west, out of view beyond the bottom of the photograph. Click to enlarge

The spot at which lava flowed into the crack is to the west, out of view beyond the bottom of the photograph. Click to enlarge

View of the pad of lava with the equivalent view from a thermal camera.

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Click to enlarge

Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater remains partly obscured by thick fume.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

In particular, the northeastern portion of the crater (bottom left part of image) has recently been entirely obscured to the naked eye, but the thermal camera provides a clear view through the fume, revealing a small lava pond.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

UPDATE: Where the Lava Flow is Now

Map showing the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone as of August 25, 2014.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow as mapped on August 22 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of August 25 is shown in red. The brown line marks the ground crack that channeled lava to the east, where it emerged to form a new pad of lava over the past couple of days. The distal tip of this new lava pad is 11.4 km east-northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and 3.1 km from the edge of the Wao Kele O Puna Forest Reserve.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

A more northerly branch of the flow, which intersected the southern edge of an older flow, has declined in vigor over the last couple of days. All older lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray. The thin yellow line marks a portion of the lava tube feeding the flow.

U.S. Court Overturns Law Limiting Biotech Crops on Kauai

A group of global biotech crop companies won a court victory on Monday that blocks enactment of a law passed last year limiting the planting of biotech crops and use of pesticides on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren of the U.S. District Court in Hawaii ruled that the law passed in November by local leaders on the island was invalid because it was pre-empted by Hawaii state law.

The Kauai law required large agricultural companies to disclose pesticide use and genetically modified (GMO) crop plantings while establishing buffer zones around schools, homes and hospitals to protect people from exposure to pesticides used on the crops…

More Here: U.S. court overturns law limiting biotech crops on Hawaiian island

 

Senator Schatz Urges President Obama, FEMA for Major Disaster Declaration for Hawaii

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) wrote letters to President Barack Obama and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate today supporting the State of Hawai‘i’s request for a major disaster declaration due to damages caused by Tropical Storm Iselle from August 7-9, 2014.

Senator Brian Schatz  in Puna.

Senator Brian Schatz in Puna.

“Tropical Storm Iselle caused strong winds, heavy rain, flooding, high surf, storm surge, and lightning, which resulted in damages reported across all four counties in the State of Hawai‘i,” Senator Schatz wrote. “Hawai‘i County has a majority of the damages where it experienced loss of power and a lack of access to water. Hawai‘i County also has widespread debris that made it difficult for residents to access emergency services. Furthermore, preliminary damage assessments estimate that the total loss and damage to the island of Hawai‘i in agriculture and commodities is $66 million. With all available state and local level resources being used, federal assistance is needed to support our communities’ recovery.”

Senator Schatz also expressed his support for the State’s request for Individual Assistance for Hawai‘i County, statewide Hazard Mitigation, and Small Business Administration loan assistance programs to help with the recovery.

Since Tropical Storm Iselle made landfall, Senator Schatz’s office has been in close contact with the White House to discuss the impact of the storm and how the federal government can help residents and communities rebuild. Last week, Senator Schatz traveled to Puna and met with Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi’s cabinet, HELCO, State Senator Russell Ruderman, Director of Civil Defense Darryl Oliveira, representatives from the Big Island Invasive Species Council, and the U.S. Forest Service, to begin the process of developing a hazard mitigation plan for albizia trees, which damaged infrastructure and caused widespread debris on Hawai‘i Island.

The full text of the letter to President Obama follows:

August 25, 2014

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I write in support of Governor Neil Abercrombie’s request for a major disaster declaration for the State of Hawai‘i due to damages caused by Tropical Storm Iselle from August 7-9, 2014.

On August 7, 2014, Hurricane Iselle approached the Hawaiian Islands and made landfall on August 8, 2014, which then became a tropical storm. The Governor declared a statewide state of emergency on August 6, 2014 and signed a supplemental proclamation on August 14, 2014, which extended the state of emergency until October 17, 2014. Tropical Storm Iselle caused strong winds, heavy rain, flooding, high surf, storm surge, and lightning, which resulted in damages reported across all four counties in the State of Hawai‘i. Hawai‘i County has a majority of the damages where it experienced loss of power and a lack of access to water. Hawai‘i County also has widespread debris that made it difficult for residents to access emergency services. Furthermore, preliminary damage assessments estimate that the total loss and damage to the island of Hawai‘i in agriculture and commodities is $66 million. With all available state and local level resources being used, federal assistance is needed to support our communities’ recovery.

Pursuant to Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5121-5207), and implemented by 44 CFR § 206.36, I ask that you swiftly approve Governor Abercrombie’s request that the State of Hawai‘i receive a major disaster declaration. Specifically, I support the Governor’s request for Individual Assistance for Hawai‘i County. I also support his request for Hazard Mitigation statewide and Small Business Administration loan assistance programs.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or need additional information.

Regards,

BRIAN SCHATZ
United States Senator

HELCO Warns of New Scams After Hurricane Iselle

Hawaii Electric Light Company reminds customers to be aware of scams targeting Hawaii Island customers in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle.

Customers reported receiving telephone calls from someone claiming to be a Hawaii Electric Light claims representative. The customers were asked to provide their social security number. The company also received reports of individuals wearing safety vests and climbing fences and gates to access homes.

Hawaii Electric Light will not contact customers to request personal information or direct customers to submit payments via options other than those listed on the back of the billing statement. The company also will not access private property without first notifying the customer. Employees and approved contractors wear photo identification badges and their vehicles are clearly marked.

For your safety and protection:

  • Never provide personal, confidential or financial information to an unidentified individual.
  • Ask questions or ask for proper identification. Request the individual’s name, company name, and phone number.
  • Be cautious when responding to callers from an unidentified phone number. Phone scammers want to remain anonymous.
  • Be aware that today’s technology can be used to mask the caller’s phone number and the caller ID could indicate the call is originating from Hawai’i Electric Light, even though it is not.
  • Report any suspicious activity to local police.

To obtain a claim form, please visit one of our customer service locations in Hilo, Waimea or Kona or visit our website at www.hawaiielectriclight.com.

Shaka For HELCO

Lava Flow Continues to Advance – Could Become Threat to Residential Areas in Weeks to Months

The June 27th lava flow, named for the date it began erupting, continues to advance to the northeast of its vent on the flank of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone.  As of Friday, August 22, the front of the flow was 10.7 km (6.6 mi) northeast of the vent.

hvo106

According to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) Scientist-in-Charge Jim Kauahikaua, the lava flow is not an immediate threat to residential areas or infrastructure downhill of the flow, but could become one in weeks to months if lava continues to advance.

This view is to the east, with the forested cone of Heiheiahulu partly obscured by the smoke plume from this angle. (Click to Enlarge)

This view is to the east, with the forested cone of Heiheiahulu partly obscured by the smoke plume from this angle. (Click to Enlarge)

HVO scientists, who mapped the flow during an overflight Friday morning, report that the flow was active along two fronts. The northern branch was advancing northeastward across fairly flat land, while the southern branch had flowed into a ground crack within the rift zone. By tracing the steam issuing from the crack, lava is inferred to have advanced 1.4 km (0.9 mi) over the past 4 days, putting it 3.8 km (2.4 mi) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve.

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The difficulty in forecasting the flow’s exact path is that “downhill of the flow” can be affected by subtle variations in topography (shape and features of the ground surface), changes in lava supply (volume increases or decreases), and where and how lava enters or exits ground cracks along the rift zone.

Kilauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone eruption began in January 1983.  Since then, most lava flows have advanced to the south, reaching the ocean about 75 precent of the time.  But the northeastward movement of the June 27th lava flow is not unprecedented.  Lava flows also traveled northeast of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō episodically in 1983-1986 and for four months in 2007, as well as during the past 19 months.  The most distal point reached by the Kahauale‘a and Kahauale‘a 2 lava flows, which were active from early 2013 until June 2014, was 8.8 km (5.5 mi) northeast of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō.

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The June 27th lava flow is advancing through a heavily forested area on Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone. This area of the rift zone is exceedingly hazardous to hikers as it is highly fractured, with numerous, deep ground cracks that are difficult to see because of the heavy vegetation. Another hazard in the area includes methane explosions that occur when lava flows over vegetated land.

The June 27th lava flow is currently within the Kahauale‘a Natural Area Reserve, which has been closed by the Hawaii State Department of Natural Land and Resources (DLNR) due to the ongoing volcanic hazards, and the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve, also closed by DLNR and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

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HVO continues to closely monitor the June 27th lava flow through increased overflights, satellite imagery, and webcam images, and is keeping Hawai‘i County Civil Defense fully informed about the flow’s location. The public can track the lava flow activity through maps, photos, and daily eruption updates posted on the HVO website at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php. Should the lava flow become an immediate threat to residential areas or infrastructure, HVO will begin posting more frequent updates.