Think About It: Local Lava Life - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News, Weather and Sports

November 6, 2014

Think About It: Local Lava Life

Rock singer Neil Young once sang that "rust never sleeps", which I thought was a pretty cool line at the time, due to the fact that it is true with continuous oxidization and all, but the torturous episode that's occurring around Pahoa on the Big Island reminds us that apparently lava never sleeps, either. The slow, but overwhelming progress being made by the lava is achingly painful to watch and even more difficult obviously for the people dealing with this time-consuming disaster. Schools closing, people being cut off, roads gone, memories covered up, trespassers busted, all in slow motion as the lava moves in yards, feet, or inches per hour, and not miles per hour, thankfully.

When the lava flows hit Kalapana almost 25-years ago, the intrepid locals made do and moved on. They had to. And now, we are seeing history repeat itself as Madame Pele seeps her molten magma molasses through fields, over roads and inevitably into structures. The slow nature of the flow does allow officials to decide what moves are necessary and what moves can wait, with safety the only issue that really matters. Most often in natural disasters, people don't get the luxury of time to make important and life-changing decisions. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions- you simply don't get weeks or months to plan things out and watch the drama slowly unfold in front of you. 

As road blockages become a factor for the 8,000 plus residents in lower Puna, the communication between officials and local residents will become increasingly important. Kilauea Volcano continues its unpredictable, ominous trek toward the coast, and thousands of peoples' lives are being affected. Let's hope that there is a continuation in the smooth flow of information to go along with the smooth flow of lava in the weeks and months ahead. Think about it…

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