Hawaii Volcano Lava Destroys Hundreds of Homes Overnight

Hawaii Volcano Lava Destroys Hundreds of Homes Overnight

Kapoho Bay, famous for its tide pools, was completely filled by lava Tuesday.

But Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County on the Big Island, said they believe the number could be much higher - in the hundreds. The USGS reported that lava had inundated most of the nearby Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland subdivisions.

Four people were evacuated from an isolated part of the Kapoho community Sunday, according to the Hawaii Fire Department.

They didn't expect the lava flow to head their way.

Lava has now covered about 7.7 square miles of the roughly 4,000 square mile island, according to the USGS. (Reuters/Terray Sylvester) Lava flows across a highway on the outskirts of Pahoa.

Seaside residents and boaters also have been warned to avoid noxious clouds of laze - a term combining the words "lava" and "haze"-formed when lava reacts with seawater to form a mix of acid fumes, steam and glass-like specks". These were vacation homes and rentals, as well as primary residences. At the adjacent Kapoho Beach lots to the north, "just a few homes" are left standing, she added. The ocean entry is sending a large laze plume into the air along the coastline.

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Carolyn Boudreault, a Kapoho resident who is now staying in Boston with her family, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the bay was a treasured place. "I wish I could just find out if I have a house".

Parts of the Big Island were rattled Tuesday, by a magnitude 5.5 quake, the latest in a string of smaller earthquakes that have struck the island since the eruption started on May 4.

Such a tally would put property losses from the current upheaval of Kilauea, which entered its 34th day on Tuesday, on par with the 215 structures destroyed by lava during all 35 years of the volcano's last eruption cycle, which began in 1983.

Most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been closed since May 11 because of earthquakes and continuous explosions from the volcano's summit crater.

Reports suggest that hundreds of homes have been destroyed in the eruption event.

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