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Lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano Reaches Residential Areas


October 28, 2014


Lava flowing from Kilauea has claimed homes and infrastructure before, just as it is doing today. This is a USGS picture from July 1983. 

Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii has erupted continuously from its Pu’u O’o vent since 1983. Today, lava flowing from the volcano reached residential areas in the town of Pahoa. The flow had begun creeping downslope towards the area four months earlier, on June 27. According to the daily update produced by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (USGS-HVO), the flow entered the first occupied residential property at about 0200 this morning, and continues to advance.

Pahoa residents living in the lava flow path were placed on an evacuation advisory, and notified of a potential need to evacuate beginning last night, October 27, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency (HCDA). HCDA is providing residents with regular information of the flow status and movement of the lava. Many residents in the community have already packed their belongings and left their homes.


The USGS-Hawaii Volcano Observatory is the official source of lava flow prediction, modeling, and estimates for this event. This situational awareness product by PDC visualizes that USGS-HVO data and additional information provided by Hawaii County Civil Defense. The main volcanic vent is in the lower right, and lava is flowing northeast.

Providing continuous support to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) and HCDA, Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) monitors USGS-HVO information and produces additional situational awareness products that include HVO lava flow data and HCDA flyover data documenting the lava in relation to populated areas. These and other event products can be accessed by emergency management personnel through PDC’s DisasterAWARE platform. If you are an emergency manager please contact info@pdc.org.

In anticipation of the impact on the community, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration to assist the community. The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) has announced that it will close nearby schools ahead of the advancing lava flow, which will affect about 1,700 students and 300 employees this week.

For more information on the Kilauea Lava Flow:
• View daily USGS-HVO updates of Kilauea volcanic activity, or
• Visit HCDA for the latest local eruption information.

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About PDC:

Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) envisions a safer, more secure world—where populations live in more disaster-resilient communities informed by science and technology, and equipped with sound decision support tools. To help make that vision a reality, PDC is dedicated to supporting evidence-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts by providing actionable information and applications to the public and disaster managers worldwide. PDC, a program managed by the University of Hawaii, was established by the U.S. government in 1996.