Hawaii Lava-Flows Accelerate, Over 80 Structures Destroyed, Tourist Bookings Tumble 50%
29 May, 2018
Officials in Hawaii County have been going door-to-door on several streets in the Leilani Estates subdivision on The Big Island, warning residents to flee as fast-moving lava from the Kilauea volcano coursed towards the area. Despite being under an evacuation order, several residents have been holding out and refusing to leave their homes.
Several fissures continue to spew hot, fast moving lava which has blocked roads.
Of great concern has been the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) plant, where which molten lava has already reached, covering two wells. Authorities believe the lava has stopped, however, and that the power plant itself will be safe.
"Lava flow from fissures 7 and 21 crossed into PGV property overnight and has now covered one well that was successfully plugged. That well, along with a second well 100 feet away, are stable and secured, and are being monitored. Also due to preventative measures, neither well is expected to release any hydrogen sulfide," it said.
On Monday, the National Park Service reported that the closure of the park alone could cost the local economy $166 million. (The park contributed that amount to the local economy, according to a National Park System report measuring what park visitors typically spend in local areas near parks, including hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and rental cars, in 2017.)
A National Park System economist, Lynne Koontz, though, believes that the most precise way to measure the impact the park's closure will have on the local economy is by breaking down the annual figure into a daily average — $455,000 per day — and multiplying that by the number of days the park has been closed. After 17 days, that added up to $7.3 million. -NYT
Hotels and authorities are desperately trying to reassure guests the Big Island is safe. They point out that the island is as big as Delaware and Rhode Island combined, and the lava flows are more than 30 miles away from most tourist areas. -USA Today