creeps within mile of Hawaii shopping center
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[December 18, 2014]
By Karin Stanton
PAHOA, Hawaii (Reuters) - A stream of
molten lava from an erupting volcano on Hawaii's Big Island crept to
within a mile of the only grocery store and gas station in the village
of Pahoa on Wednesday as it neared a highway link with the rest of the
The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency reported on Wednesday that
lava from the Kilauea Volcano's June 27 eruption continued to move
in an east-northeast direction, following the path of steepest
descent through rough terrain and thick undergrowth.
Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey said the flow measured
about 250 feet (76 m) across and had advanced about 220 yards (200
m) in 24 hours, putting its leading edge 0.9 mile (1.5 km) from a
small commercial plaza at the junction of Pahoa Village Road and the
Authorities said the lava was likely to reach the intersection
sometime next week. An earlier branch of the lava flow stalled just
feet from a recycling transfer station.
The latest flow has been advancing at an average rate of roughly 330
yards a day since early November.
While the lava poses no immediate threat to homes, it is headed
directly at the Pahoa Marketplace housing a grocery store, gasoline
station, medical clinic and several small shops and restaurants.
Civil Defense Chief Darryl Oliveira said county officials were
working closely with the merchants to prepare for a possible
The service station has begun emptying its gasoline tanks and
replacing the fuel with water and fire-retardant foam, Oliveira
said, and Malama Market has announced plans to close on Thursday.
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Also on Wednesday, the county opened a public viewing area at the
transfer station, where lava breached the fence in late October but
spared the facility.
Oliveira said more than 60 cars were counted pulling into the
viewing area in the first couple of hours Wednesday morning.
(Editing by Steve Gorman and Clarence Fernandez)
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