Lava flows cut off access to more Hawaii neighborhoods

Hawaii volcano map of affected area USGS

A strong natural disaster beneath the erupting Mount Kilauea volcano shook Hawaii's Big Island and sent up an 8,000-foot ash plume, scientists said.

The lava flow destroyed a freshwater lake, boiling all the water in it late Saturday, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported. Lava has completely filled the nearby Kapoho Bay and inundated much of Vacationland, according to the AP.

Officials had issued mandatory orders for residents of Leilani Estates and those in Kapoho Beach and Vacationland to leave by Friday afternoon or risk being trapped and unreachable by emergency crews.

Authorities will attempt to airlift individuals out of the neighborhood if the lava spreads further.

Civil defense reported a total of 117 homes and other structures were destroyed as the eruption from Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, continued through its 33rd day. Picture taken May 3, 208.

Officials said on Saturday that access to Kapoho had been cut off.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area.

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For those whose homes have been unscathed, the prolonged strain of uncertainty has grown increasingly hard.

One resident, Nancy Avery, said the glass strands hurt like paper cuts, slicing into her fingers and feet, toes exposed because she wore only sandals. "I wish I could just find out if I have a house". "It's so sharp, it feels like the glass is still in there".

"For us it's more of a vacation area, but for those who live there permanently, they're trying to figure out where they're going to be living", he said.

Lava flows have knocked out telephone and power lines, causing widespread communication outages, and forced the shutdown of a geothermal energy plant that normally provides about a quarter of the island's electricity.

Four weeks have passed since the first eruption rocked Hawaii's Big Island and lava continues oozing from volcanic fissures, burning homes to the ground and turning into rivers of molten rock.

A moderate quake struck the summit of Kilauea Volcano this morning but does not pose a tsunami threat.

"They are a response to pressure building up beneath the pile of rubble cover the vent opening at the summit", said Wendy Stovall, a volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. It was likely caused by a buildup of pressure from the summit area of Kilauea.

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