Aerial images of Hawaii captured the devastating lava flows from the Kilauea volcano which destroyed hundreds of homes in one night, including the Big Island county mayor’s second home.
Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim’s home was among the at least 159 houses in Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland wiped out by lava flows on Monday night.
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 mass destruction in one night more than doubles the 117 confirmed homes that have been destroyed since Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano began erupting May 3 – making it the most destructive day since the eruption began.
‘Harry had a premonition this was going to happen,’ she told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. ‘Vacationland is almost totally destroyed.’
County Managing Director Wil Okabe said his own vacation home in Kapoho Beach Lots was also threatened. Okabe described the area as a mix of vacation rentals and year-round residences.
‘For us it’s more of a vacation area, but for those who live there permanently, they’re trying to figure out where they’re going to be living,’ he said.
‘He was very depressed,’ Okabe said of how Kim felt about losing his vacation home. Kim and Okabe live in Hilo, the county’s seat, which is more than an hour drive from the Kapoho area.
Those who live or vacation in the area were mourning the loss of popular tide-pools where kids enjoyed swimming.
Thankfully, the area had already been evacuated so no injuries or casualties were reported.
A magnitude-5.5 earthquake also shook the area, causing further damage, on Tuesday.
On Monday evening, lava poured into the Kapoho Bay, releasing toxic steam and tiny glass particles, all but covering the bay and most of Vacationland. Witnesses also report a cloud of ash was sent billowing a mile into the sky.
The bright red lava flows in Hawaii can get as hot as 1,165 F, with the temperature of the glowing orange flows reaching more than 1,600 F – igniting trees, roads, buildings or anything in its path.
‘There’s a lot of destruction,’ Talmadge Magno, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator, told CBS affiliate KGMB-TV. ‘It’s like a flood – it’s just pouring out, covering everything in its path. It looks like there’s no stopping it.’
Lava continued to flow at a much slower pace into the bay on Tuesday.
The eruptions have caused chaos across Hawaii since they began on May 3, which have caused earthquakes, volcanic ash smog or ‘vog’ and acid rain, giant fissures and cracks across the islands, and lava destroying anything that stands in its way.