Giant acidic steam clouds rise from ocean after lava spill in Hawaii

  • Giant acidic steam clouds rise from ocean after lava spill in Hawaii

Giant acidic steam clouds rise from ocean after lava spill in Hawaii

About 500 homes were in the direct path of the lava, and hundreds of homes in the Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland communities were destroyed, the County of Hawaii Civil Defense told ABC News.

County Managing Director Wil Okabe says his vacation home in Kapoho Beach Lots is also threatened.

Lava early Tuesday destroyed Big Island Mayor Harry Kim's second home in Vacationland, Snyder said.

No injuries were reported as most residents heeded advice to leave. The area is primarily home to vacation rentals, but there are a lot of permanent residences there too. Kapoho Bay, famous for its tide pools, was completely filled by lava Tuesday. To the north, lava has covered all but a small portion of Kapoho Beach Lots.

Thousands in the Puna district left after lava fissures started opening in neighborhoods a month ago. He told reporters that there is still plenty of shelter space but that state officials are working with federal counterparts to work on a plan for housing people who've lost their homes to the lava.

Before and after photos reveal a vast amount of land near Kapoho Bay now covered in lava.

On Sunday, the flow crept toward Kapoho Bay, a roughly 1,000-foot-wide ocean retreat.

The flow, which is a half-mile wide in parts, entered the sea Sunday night, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense, sending large plumes of "laze" - a risky mix of steam, gas and volcanic glass - into the air.

The Hawaii County Civil Defense agency was putting the confirmed number of buildings lost to the current eruption at 117 on Monday, mostly residential properties.

"Anything above 6.9 [magnitude] is our threshold", she said, noting that it would warn people to stay clear of the ocean in such an event.

The latest damage came from a large lava flow that crept several miles (km) before severing a key highway junction at Kapoho on Saturday and then obliterating about a half dozen blocks of the subdivision over the weekend, the spokesman said.

"Nobody knows what comes next as far as the lava goes", Snyder told The Washington Post. Police said a 55-year-old man was arrested last week after he circumvented a traffic checkpoint and crashed his vehicle into a hardened lava flow.