As the volcano Kilauea on Hawaii's Big Island continues to erupt, more shocking video of homes there being engulfed in lava continue to surface. On Friday, the number of structures destroyed by lava since the eruption began earlier this month.
Isaac Krakauer, a resident of Pahoa, Hawaii, has posted several videos of lava creeping into his neighborhood, destroying nearby homes. One time-lapse video he posted on Thursday, May 24 has over 10,000 views.
According to Hawaii News Now, the number of structures destroyed by lava reached 82 Friday, skyrocketing form 50 earlier in the week. Authorities say the number will keep climbing as the eruptions continue at the volcano's lower east rift.
On Friday, firefighters made sure everyone in Leilani Estates evacuated the area, and some streets are already cut off by lava. In Lower Puna, access was cut off to nearly 40 homes thanks to lava, which covers 3.4 square miles of land there.
The Hawaii County Civil Defense said Saturday lava flow into Leilani Estates slowed, but continues to flow into the Pacific Ocean, reports CNN. There were also still volcanic explosions Saturday morning, creating an ash cloud that reached 11,000 feet above sea level, according to the National Weather Service.
According to USA Today, one big concern now is access to the three rural highways meant to be used for evacuation. One is already blocked completely and another one, Highway 130, already has large cracks thanks to magma moving the earth. Officials used metal plates to help drivers get over the cracks. If those plates fail, only one highway would be open.
"We have multiple contingencies in place and we’ll go down the list depending on the circumstances," Tim Sakahara, public information officer for the Hawaii transportation department, told USA Today.
One of the plans includes using Chain of Craters Road, a road running through the now-closed Volcanoes National Park as a one-way evacuation route. Unfortunately, that road also needs some repairs and it runs close to a crater that frequently sends ash into the air.
Another contingency plan is an air evacuation. Hawaii Army National Guard commander Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara said Friday it could take a matter of hours to evacuate residents of Lower Puna if the roads are impossible to use, reports the Honolulu Star Advertiser. Hara told officials he made arrangements for two Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters to help out if that becomes necessary.
"They can basically evacuate a whole subdivision of 500 people within two hours," Janet Snyder, spokeswoman for Hawaii island Mayor Harry Kim, said of the helicopters.
As for now, the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency is trying to keep the highways open for evacuees as long as possible.0comments
“Our state highways folks and our public works folks say they can try to keep it open as long as possible,” Hawaii Civil Defense Agency Administrator Talmadge Magno said Tuesday. “Right now, they’ve got the steel plates on it. Whether it is dumping out huge quantities of material just to fill cracks and so forth, they’ll do it.”
Photo Credit: Facebook/ Isaac Krakauer