Concerto in Red for a Tuesday Night.

The lava is still moving. If it isolates the “South” from the “North” everyone will know what you mean when you say “North” and “South”.

The Pahoa Post Office will move to the Hilo Airport if they are given an evacuation notice or, probably, if 130 is cut – or at some other time which no one yet knows.  They will pick up the boxes, put them on rollers and move them all. No one will have to change their address – but there might not be any more mail delivery south of the flow.

I believe it is generally accepted by the government that the flow will cut Hwy 130. Until the last day or two I have thought that the lava would be constrained by the very narrow section through which it is being fed, but that appears to have been wishful thinking.

Determining the path it would take was a simpler matter. I looked at a topo and picked the historical water run-off areas; the areas with the greatest degree of declination.

That methodology works because the physical laws of the universe are immutable, so we can make further pathway predictions.  The lava will approach 130 north of the Post Office Road.  If the road is not cut to allow a flow path, it will pool to the north and south along the west side of the road until it forces a crossing along that stretch.  

Depending upon exactly where it crosses, the most likely path will take it across Kahakai at least once or, worst case, straight down Kahakai. Either way, it will eventually reach the corner by Keonepoko school and veer to the north-east. That will probably eliminate Beaches and Shores as viable communities, for when the lava reaches the ocean, they will both be cut off for all practical purposes. Traffic will have to transit Chain of Craters Road to egress until and if the flow is bridged.

The next point concerns exactly that.  If the government breaches Hwy 130 at the approach of the lava to allow a free flow path, the highway might be saved and bridged.  Kahakai could then be extended aroung the flow to intersect 130 further south.

The problem with this scenario is the potential extent of the lava.  A second flow stopped earlier above Apa’a St, but is moving again.  If it continues, it could either merge with the front flow or catch the next line of descent to it’s south. Pahoa Village Road could be cut in two places and when the flow merged, it could easily be too large to allow Hwy 130 to be saved. 

Further, if the flow is still energetic at that point, the entire island south of it will be at risk, at least insofar as statistical probability is concerned and can be calculated. Without time constraints, the probability is very nearly 100%.  We know there is magma under this entire end of the island and the hot spot is feeding Loihi. Nothing is keeping Kilauea from erupting a new vent in Pahoa tomorrow.

A few people have asked me if I have ‘lava’ insurance. No and neither does anyone else.  If you live in Lava zone 1, you probably don’t have ANY insurance.  And potential buyers can’t get financing. So you better like that house a lot and plan to stay there as long as your forever lasts. 

I know people who are selling properties south for pennies on the dollar – and I know people who won’t even consider it.  I am not in the path of the lava, but I am in the path of both escape routes.  It will be messy for awhile but everyone in Hawaii comes together during adversity so we will survive and get past it….except that if the geothermal plant closes everyone’s HELCO bill will double immediately.

Let’s try to think of more pleasant things.  Our water is radioactive, ebola (or something worse) is coming, the economy is failing, our schools are terrible, violence is becoming rampant and Sears is closing. Employment is going down and taxes are going up.  In a week or two the entire economy of this island could turn upside down. And you do know that Mauna Loa has begun rumbling again.

We live in interesting times.