There are scientific data which allow general predictions that are better than coin-toss odds. I will make some.
First, I believe the flow will simply stop within the next few days. I don’t see a sufficient reservoir to support it through the two slight declines it has to traverse or to reach Highway 130. It only moved about 50 yards today down from five times that a day ago, so it does not move well in that flatter type of area.
At present it is merging into the path predicted by the USGS in 2007. The path is still valid as a waterway and a path for lava, but there must sufficient volume for lava to flow faster than it crusts.
In the unlikely event it re-starts after it stops, it could cross 130 North of Pahoa, missing the Fire/Police department, Malama Market and Longs. IF it continued to the ocean, it might cross Keonepoko at least twice and turn northeast above Keonepoko school and the Beaches/Shores area. It could reach the ocean halfway between Hawaiian Beaches and HPP. I went by there on a boat yesterday. Building a commercial dock / marina there wouldn’t be any problem at all.
If that happened there would be a boom in boat service and even air service from Hilo using flat roads as airstrips. If we still had the interisland ferry, it could be pressed into service or twice-a day runs – but it might have run over a whale, so it was bankrupted – another stupid decision. Even without that, the Corps of Engineers could have a temporary bridge over it in a month. It’s not an eruption like the one that destroyed Queens Bath.
Eventually the county could get grants to build another highway and re-open Chain-of-craters road, but that is not a solution. The solution is simply to bridge the flow along the current Highway 130.
I still think the lava will stop or, at worse, not create a complete disaster.
If it ever did cross 130 there will be downsides. Grid power will be problematic for awhile and county water won’t be available. Neither will cable and phone service in many areas.
There will not be public ( or, really, ANY) transportation available. Police and fire services won’t be available. As of now all the storage rentals in Hilo are sold out and no shipping containers are available.
Property values south of HPP, especially in Pahoa, Beaches, Shores and Nanawale would tank and insurance companies will stop writing policies. People now grasp that they live on the side of an active volcano. But farm properties in the mango road area may actually become more valuable within a few years. Property values in the HPP / Ainaloa / Keaau areas will double in value – or triple.
As I am sure everyone knows, If lava burns your house ( it doesn’t have to touch the dwelling – only be the proximate cause of the fire), insurance doesn’t cover it. People will be all over the area 24/7 to make sure houses don’t ‘accidentally’ catch fire before the heat from the lava lights them off so everyone’s plan to burn down their home at the last minute – which has already passed – won’t work. And with the addition of enhanced criminal penalties because the area has been a disaster area, they’d likely get twenty-to life even if no one saw them do it.
This report is available at http://badtidings.wordpress.com.
Years of previous blogs are probably available again at http://tcsbadtidings.blogspot.com