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Hawaiian Road Reopens In Wake of Volcanic Flow

Nov 26, 2014 11:10 AM EST
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Lava can't stop Turkey Day! Officials have declared that the Pahoa village road in Hawaii will soon be open once more, clearing the way for Thanksgiving travelers as they drive right by a now-becalmed lava flow.

Kilauea Volcano, an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, has been intermittently spitting out lava from various craters and cracks for decades. This particular flow started seeping from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater back in June, but unlike its predecessors, which quickly flowed off the coasts near the volcano, this lava began a searing march straight towards the village of Pahoa.

That prompted some evacuations in late October after the lava slowly began to cross the main village road and threaten residential areas. However, since then the flow has appeared to stall, with only branches of the flow farther from the village staying active as of Monday, Nov. 24, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Park Service.

"We're shooting for Thanksgiving to have Pahoa Village Road open. Apaa Street will remain closed [except for] local traffic only, because we're not allowing traffic up to where the flow crossed Apaa Street and the transfer station," Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira said in a live media briefing Monday. (Scroll to read on...)

(Photo : USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory) Lava flow on Nov. 24

With the flow remaining stalled, it looks like the road will indeed be open for travel soon. However, Oliveira has requested that motorists remain respectful of the people whose property has been invaded and damaged by this flow.

"We need to respect the private landowners and keep the traffic flowing smoothly because if we're opening up the road, it's to alleviate traffic concerns and to allow for access," he added in the briefing, according to Big Island Now. "We don't want to have that in any way impacted by people stopping to take pictures, because that would defeat the purpose of why we're reopening the road."

Most importantly, while the road remains open for now, the flow has not stopped, and new activity could threaten motorists once again in the future.

The USGS expects the flow to last for several months still, but adds that as long as it continues to act like past flows, it may exhibit up to four years of intermittent activity.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

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