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Hurricane Winds and Lava Press in on Hawaii in a Double Threat

Oct 16, 2014 06:51 PM EDT
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The Hawaiian islands are known for their slow and ponderous lava flows that can lasts for months. Hurricane-force winds certainly don't fit that description, but can be equally disastrous given the right circumstances. Now, both natural forces could be encroaching upon Hawaii at the same time, which is worrying officials.

The Kilauea Volcano lava flow started its slow and searing march across Hawaii back in late June, and has not stopped since. It's being constantly monitored and has so far not been deemed a threat to local residential areas, but could still close in on Hawaii Island's Pahoa town by November.

According to the Country of Hawaii Civil Defense (HCD) message and alerts, the flow appears to have stalled Thursday morning after slowing for more than a month. It remains less than a mile from Apa'a Street area near the Pahoa Transfer Station, but is nothing more than an oddity that locals can easily avoid.

"Current flow activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities and no evacuation is needed at this time. Area residents will be given adequate notice to safely evacuate should that be necessary," officials reported.

However, there is worry that the flow may start up again, and if it does, locals may be battling natural disasters on two fronts.

That's because tropical storm Ana is still bearing down on Hawaii, and there remains a chance that it can still spin up to hurricane-force winds before making landfall.

"In addition to the high winds, high surf and storm surge may be expected as well as heavy rains and thunder showers. " the HCD reported.  "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."

In preparation for this, the US Coast Guard plans to close all Hawaii ports east of Oahu on Friday, and could also close the ports of Honolulu and Nawiliwil over the weekend, according to Hawaii News Now.

The hope is that the storm will blow over before the lava flow reaches any homesteads so that officials will be able to deal with the situations individually.

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