HONOLULU – Hawaii emergency officials who are dealing with Kilauea volcano lava were preparing for a hurricane, which is expected to pass to the south of the islands this week.
Hurricane preparations are underway, just as lava from the latest active eruption of the site in a Big Island neighborhood decreased dramatically in the weekends and less earthquakes were felt.
The significance of the change is not yet clear, scientists said.
“It is common for eruptions to wash and wipe or pause at all,” said an update from the U. S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. “A return to a high level of lava dismissal or new outbreaks in the area of active cracks can occur at any time.”
Meanwhile, a tropical storm watch was in effect Monday for the waters south of the Big Island as Hurricane Hector was expected Tuesday night and Wednesday as it moves to the west.
Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said officials would be prepared for all that nature brings. The districts that would likely feel the brunt of the storm are covered by the current lava flow, he said.
“The volcano of Madam Pele, is it totally wiped out all the houses that would have been in danger,” he said, referring to the Hawaiian goddess of the volcano, and to notice that many of these areas suffered a lot of damage when Tropical Storm Iselle hit the Big Island in 2014.
The decrease in lava volume and less earthquakes than the dozens on a daily basis that was “walking and rumbling” for weeks, made for a welcome change of pace on the weekend, Kim said.
“Nature is the manner in which the nature of creation and change,” he said. “You accept. This is a natural way.”
The southern half of the island should brace for winds of 35 mph (56.3 km / h) or higher, said Melissa Dye, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. There may also be a few inches of rain in the Thursday as Hector is going to the island, ” she said.
Hector is small, but strong, they said, adding that the storm’s size can help reduce how far it extends.
The weather forecast was not to allow Punaluu Bakery, Bake shop, general manager Connie Koi let her guard. Even a small deviation in Hector’s path or strength could mean flooded roads and heavy rain and strong winds for Naalehu, an isolated southern community.
“I’m worried about approaching us in the neighborhood,” she said. “It’s kind of too close for comfort.”