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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Announces Closures – Thurston Lava Tube Floods

Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) and the Kahuku Unit are closed due to impacts from heavy rainfall and flash flooding. The summit of Mauna Loa remains closed to all day use and overnight camping. Closures remain in effect until it is safe to reopen.

A closure sign at the entrance to Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube)/NPS Photo

A closure sign at the entrance to Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube)/NPS Photo

On Friday, the floor of the lava tube was flooded with rain, and water covered the electrical conduit system. The power was shut off, but visitor access is prohibited until further notice.

The floor of a dark Nāhuku flooded with rainwater Friday afternoon, with the power off./NPS Photo

The floor of a dark Nāhuku flooded with rainwater Friday afternoon, with the power off./NPS Photo

The Kahuku Unit, which is usually open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, was closed for the day on Friday morning due to flooding and a road closure on Highway 11. Staff will reassess conditions Saturday morning, and determine if Kahuku will open for the weekend.

The National Weather Service extended the flash flood warning for Hawai‘i Island Friday afternoon through 5:15 p.m. HST.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the summit of Mauna Loa that remains in effect. Heavy rain and high winds pummeled the 13,677-foot summit, and abundant snow was visible on webcams and at sunset Thursday.

Rainwater ponding along the rainforest trail at Nāhuku. NPS Photo

Rainwater ponding along the rainforest trail at Nāhuku. NPS Photo

The summit closure is in effect above the Red Hill (Pu‘u‘ula‘ula) Cabin. Hikers can still obtain a backcountry permit to hike to and stay at Red Hill Cabin, but backcountry permits to areas above 10,000 feet are suspended and day hiking is prohibited. Hikers going to Red Hill will be advised during the permit process to proceed with caution and carry appropriate gear.

“Park rangers will constantly monitor the roads and destinations within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park during this storm, and additional closures may be warranted,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Has Twitter Site (Only Used Once)… My Letter to the County

I just noticed that Hawaii County Civil Defense DOES have a Civil Defense Twitter page set up, and you can see it here:

http://twitter.com/Civil_Defense

It has only one message posted that is dated back to January 20th of this year:
Vog Warning in Puna

http://twitter.com/Civil_Defense/status/1134558439

Well “DUH” we always have VOG warnings… where was yesterdays Flood Warnings?

Why is the Twitter Account Locked so that only certain users get messages?

I just mailed the following letter off to county officials. I will wait and see what their response is.

1. I would like to know how many Hawaii County Residents have signed up for the $40,000 Phone Alert System that the County is paying for: http://www.hawaii-county.com/cd/message.htm

I understand this first year is free and subsequent years will be $40,000! This seems like a large chunk of change for something that has not been proven effective.

2. I would like to know where the Civil Defense warnings were that West Hawaii was flooding yesterday.

3. The only way I heard about the Flooding was through a Twitter Message put out by KWXX: http://twitter.com/KWXX/statuses/1201758225

4. Hawaii County Has A Civil Defense Twitter site… why is it not being used?
http://twitter.com/Civil_Defense

Thank you for any response you may help me find out,

Sincerely,

Damon Tucker