For weeks, Americans have been looking to their tropical countrymen with awe, as the people of Hawaii stand stoically in the face of Mother Nature’s incredible and frightening wrath.
Of course we are talking about the ongoing eruption of Mount Kilauea, whose lava flows are rapidly advancing into nearby neighborhoods demolishing everything in their path in a hellish blaze of sulfuric flame. Weeks ago, one particular clip went viral in which a steadily creeping lava flow crossed an entire road in the course of several minutes, plowed into a Ford Mustang, and completely enveloped the American icon in flames.
Now, after weeks of such invasive and unstoppable disaster looming on every hillside, Hawaiians are receiving yet another warning from the government, and this time, they mean business.
As molten lava continued spewing from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano Thursday, Hawaii County ordered all residents of a designated portion of the hard-hit Leilani Estates development to evacuate by Friday morning or face possible arrest.
Big Island Mayor Harry Kim declared a roughly 17-block swath of the estates “off limits indefinitely” and gave residents 24 hours to get out by 12:06 p.m. local time Friday, Reuters reported.
Those remaining in the mandatory evacuation area beyond the deadline “do so at their own risk, with the knowledge that emergency responders may not respond,” the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said in a statement.
The mandatory evacuation zone lies within a slightly larger area that was already under a voluntary evacuation order and curfew, Reuters reported.
A similarly stern warning was issued to residents of Hawaii just last week, as scientists began to believe that a massive eruption event could begin on Kilauea at any time, possibly sending ash and toxic gas tens of thousands of feet into the atmosphere.
Even more concerning to some, however, is the precariously positioned land mass known as the Hilina Slump.
Should the Hilina Slump break free from Hawaii, due to Kilauea’s impending eruption or the myriad of earthquakes that have rocked the region, the ensuing displacement of ocean water would creat a “mega tsunami” capable of moving several miles inland in California. While most of mainstream science seems to be in agreement that this is an unlikely probability, those who have sounded the Hilina Horn believe that such a failure would only give residents of cities such as Los Angeles approximately six hours to evacuate to higher ground.
And, given the traffic in Southern California, 6 hours is barely enough to run down to the local coffee shop and back.