Officials in Hawaii raised the threat level from a ‘watch’ to a ‘warning’ last night as a lava flow continues to creep towards homes in Hawaii county. The lava’s coming from the Kilauea volcano and its close proximity to a few dozen homes has prompted the state of emergency.

This lava flow doesn’t come as a surprise to scientists and officials in Hawaii. It’s been flowing since late June at about 800 feet per day. What was a ‘concern’ a few days ago has turned into a crisis for local residents. If the lava flow doesn’t start slowing down in a hurry, residents of the Ka’ohe Homesteads division could see their homes overtaken by lava. I wonder if there’s insurance for that?

Homes aren’t the only thing at risk. If the lava flow continues, it could affect Highway 130, the only major road reaching the lower Puna area. If the lava overtakes the highway, more than 8,000 people could be affected.

While the state of emergency sounds like a big deal, it’s affect on the majority of residents is small. Basically, county officials are limiting access to various areas. They don’t want curious people in the area affecting voluntary evacuations.

As it stands, there’s been no mandatory evacuations. Predicting when a lava flow is going to impact an area is nearly impossible. It could be next week, it could be next month. It could be never, the lava flow may end up stopping.

Hawaii county officials have to be prepared though, as well as Ka’ohe residents.

The USGS conducted a flight over the current lava flow on Wednesday. Check out the video below.

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Here’s a couple more incredible images from the USGS showing the destructive nature of the lava flow.

lava flow

lava flow

Image credits: USGS

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